The dream is over. The Blazers fall short of their completely undefeated season in just their third preseason game, dropping a tough road loss to the Los Angeles Clippers. The Blazers got down early, made a push to start the 3rd quarter to cut the lead to 4 points, and then watched the Clippers put away the hand scissors and break out the hedge trimmers down the stretch.
How'd the RAMBO starting line up work out? Not so hot: all 5 guys had a negative +/-. Don't rush to kill Andre Miller for this. Sure he had 3 turnovers in 24 minutes but Steve Blake had 4 in 16 minutes off the bench, and Andre did tack on 11 points and 5 boards to finish with a respectable line.
Greg Oden tallied 7 points and 8 rebounds in limited action and, according to various tweeted reports, struggled to get going on offense, finishing 3 of 7 from the field.
Nate McMillan did get a full look at just about everyone: 14 Blazers played in total. Ime Udoka (10 points, 2 rebounds in 16 minutes) again won the battle for the 15th spot over Jarron Collins (0 points, 1 rebound in 6 minutes).
The Clippers relied on balanced scoring, getting 5 guys in double figures. Blake Griffin had an impressive pro debut, notching 8 points and 5 boards in 21 minutes, before being removed from the game by Mike Dunleavy so that he wouldn't spoil it by fouling out.
Liked Cunningham in Vegas. Like him in Los Angeles. Like him in a boat. Like him with a goat.
The Blazers fall to 2-1 in the preseason; the Clippers rise to 1-1. Next up for the Blazers is "Turn Back the Clock Night" in the Memorial Coliseum next Wednesday, as the Phoenix Suns come to town.
Here's a look at Blake Griffin's night from Kevin Arnovitz.
Griffin's motor runs fast. Both his encounter with the scorers table and a spill he took underneath the basket in the fourth quarter had the Clippers brass holding their collective breath. Gasping for air is something Clipper Nation is just going to have to live with.
"That's the only way I know how to play," Griffin said. "That's my m.o. That's what I'm going to do."
Here's Lisa Dillman's game recap for the LA Times.
The Clippers averaged 10.6 fast-break points last season. They had 28 against Portland.
Joe Freeman focuses on Nic Batum and summarizes what sounds like a forgettable game in a few sentences down in the notes section.
Nicolas Batum's name has become synonymous with defense.
Trail Blazers coach Nate McMillan asked Batum to guard Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and even Tony Parker on occasion as a 19-year-old rookie last season, when Batum used his defensive prowess to become an NBA starter.
But as Batum embarks on his second season, he has a startling ambition.
"I want to show people that I'm not just a defender," he said. "I can play on offense, too, you know."
Here are your first half highlights courtesy of NBA.com.
-- Ben (firstname.lastname@example.org)