In an ugly, low-scoring game, the Blazers ran out of gas late, giving away an 18 point lead en route to 3-point loss to the Los Angeles Clippers. While I'm sure TNT regrets broadcasting this game, the topic on most Blazer fans' minds will be Raymond Felton. His 0 point (on 0-7 shooting), 2 assist, 5 turnover performance, including a poor late-game stretch where the Blazers lost the lead, will be all the rage (and I mean rage) in this postgame thread.
The Blazers were led by Nicolas Batum (19 points, 6 rebounds, mostly in the first half) and Jamal Crawford (19 points, 3 assists), with support from Wesley Matthews (16 points, 5 rebounds).
The Blazers opened the game looking like a different team than the one seen the past week. Led by Batum, the Blazers quickly took a double-digit lead, as Chris Paul struggled and the rest of the Clips couldn't pick up the slack. Offensive rebounds kept the Clippers close, but they could not close the game, scoring only 32 points in the first half as the Blazers led by 11.
The third quarter opened with more Blazer goodness. Wallace, Batum and Matthews each scored to push the Blazer lead to 18 while the Clippers squandered possessions. However, the Blazers went cold and the Clips fought back, quickly cutting the lead to 10. The GDT contingent cursed Felton's name repeatedly. Meanwhile, the teams played back and forth in front of a feisty crowd, with the Clippers cutting the lead to single digits late in the quarter. Both Crawford and Griffin were T'd up as the Clippers ended the quarter on a 20-10 run, closing the gap from 18 to 8.
Both tired teams try to make a run to start the fourth, but the Clippers cut the lead to four with 9 minutes left as the Blazers start to see the needle pass the 'E' mark. Crawford, with some energy left, took over scoring duties for the Blazers, scoring the majority of their early fourth quarter points. But Chris Paul, after struggling all night, came alive to cut the lead to two. With just under 4 minutes remaining, Mo Williams hit a three to take a one point lead. Then a Chris Paul three pushed the lead to 4. From there, it was one of the most abysmal displays of lockout basketball you'll ever see, and I'm already purging it from my mind.
Check out the box score (and get a laugh at the Blazer player +/-), then stay tuned for Ben's Media Row report and Dave's recap. The Blazers (and all of us) get a night off, then are back in action against the Hawks Saturday night. -- Tim