USA TODAY Sports
The Portland Trail Blazers stayed close for a half, but were reminded that, even without Chris Paul, the Los Angeles Clippers are hard to beat for two straight nights.
The Blazers were led by LaMarcus Aldridge's double-double (21 points, 11 rebounds). Damian Lillard had an ok night with 16 points and 5 assists, while Nicolas Batum and Wesley Matthews struggled to score all night. And JJ Hickson's numbers (15 points, 9 rebounds) don't even reflect his defensive woes against the strong inside play of the Clippers.
First Quarter: The Blazers showed no fear to start the game, playing toe-to-toe with the Clippers at both ends. Both teams got hot early, getting points early in the shot clock, and late. A scary moment arrived when Blake Griffin inadvertently poked Lillard in the eye when he was swiping for the ball. However, after a timeout, Lillard stayed on the court. However, the Clippers made a late run, scoring 6 straight points to lead by the same amount at the horn.
Blake might flirt with a triple double but Batum seals the deal
Second Quarter: The Blazers scored 5 quick points to close the deficit, but the Clippers got it right back after a little wobbly play from Portland's bench. Jamal Crawford once again looked like the player Blazer fans hoped for last season, scoring easily through the quarter. In a pivotal moment, Crawford hit a three and got fouled. However, the (questionable) call was an offensive foul, taking away the points. At the other end. Crawford completed a three-point play, for a quick 7-point turnaround. Lillard immediately added a three-pointer to tie the game. The Blazers took the lead for a short time, but some haphazard play led to another Clipper run to close the second quarter, giving them back a 5 point lead.
This game is beginning to blend with last night's game into one long double-header.
Third Quarter: In one minute, the Clipper lead doubled from 5 to 10. The strong defense from the first half went missing, and their shooting drought continued. The Blazers kept it within reach, but the hungry Clippers slowly pulled away with strong defense and quick buckets on the break. When the lead reached 15, the Blazers tried to make a run, but were betrayed by the Dark Side (turnovers) and the Clippers sliced up the porous defense for yet another end-of-quarter run. They led by 16 after three.
[Luke Babbitt was unpopular after bricking an open three. Guess the exact time it happened.]
BABBITT ARE YOU SERIOUS???? How can he miss the one thing he practices 24/7
by bowdown on Jan 27, 2013 8:14 PM PST
If Babbitt isn't going to make that shot, he doesn’t need to be on the court. Period.
by JAnderson98VR on Jan 27, 2013 8:14 PM PST
Wow Babbitt, if he can’t hit his shot then why is he in the game
by dyshooter182 on Jan 27, 2013 8:14 PM PST
Fourth Quarter: Don't bother. The Blazers tried to close the gap, but the Clippers really wanted to break their losing streak, and it showed. Their defense was strong, their offense was crisp (impressive without Chris Paul), and unlike last night, they kept their focus down the stretch. Even Ronny Turiaf burned Portland. As the buzzer sounded, the Blazers fell back to .500 with a thud. But they stole one of two from the Clippers, so the weekend could have been worse.