This was one of those nights where you look at the box score and think, "How did the Blazers win this game?". Outscored on the break, 16-6. Outscored in the paint, 54-22. Turned the ball over 16 times to 5 for the Clippers. Chris Paul and Blake Griffin (combined 69 points, 14 rebounds, 17 assists, 7 steals) out-dueled LaMarcus Aldridge and Damian Lillard (combined 46 points, 15 rebounds, 8 assists, 0 steals).
So how did they win? They stayed together as a team. 6 players scored in double-digits. Every player made a contribution, including 7 rebounds and a jumper from Meyers Leonard. The Clippers game-planned for Lillard, double-teaming him at every opportunity. His stats suffered, but that opened up opportunities for Aldridge as well as Mo Williams, who had a nice night in the PG role. Portland pulled down 60 rebounds, including seven players with 5 or more. The Blazers also finished with more free throws, aided by intentional Clipper fouls in overtime. And let's not forget Nicolas Batum, who calmly drained a three-pointer with 5 seconds left to tie the game in regulation.
The Blazers withstood a huge charge from the Clippers tonight. Their Big Two had huge nights, both shooting over .500 for 30+ points. Aldridge was in foul trouble, and Lillard was taken out of his game. And they still found a way to win as a team.
Tonight's leaders: Aldridge came up huge with 32 points, 10 rebounds and 4 assists. The Blazers also enjoyed contributions from Batum (19 points, 7 rebounds and 3 assists), Wesley Matthews (19 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists), Lillard (14 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists), Robin Lopez (11 points, 15 rebounds) and Mo Williams (12 points, 8 assists).
First Quarter: A slow start for both teams, as they missed shots all over. Portland turned it over on their first two possessions, but at the other end, Blake Griffin committed two fouls to leave the game early. However, Portland struggled to take advantage, gaining just a 6 point lead as their three-pointers bounced off the rim.
Portland 19, Los Angeles 14
Holy cow, we can't make a shot.
Second Quarter: Lillard started the quarter with an awful turnover, but the Clips struggled to get the ball in the hoop. In fact, they blew two attempts on a fast break. When Mo Williams nailed a three and Lopez scored inside the Blazers led by 8. A Dorell Wright layup made it 11. The Clippers finally hit a three, but Williams replied with two consecutive three's to push the lead to 12. Out of the timeout, the Clippers scored 9 straight points to get right back into the game. In response, Aldridge scored 6 straight points on jumpers. The teams traded runs for the rest of the quarter, with a red-hot Chris Paul getting the best of the Blazers down the stretch to keep the game close. Lillard picked up a Technical Foul for arguing with referee Violet Palmer, feeling the Clipper defense was being too physical with no calls.
Portland 47, Los Angeles 46
Wow... Leonard actually looks like a competent NBA center. I think someone’s Blazer's Edge wish list came to pass!
Third Quarter: Blake Griffin opened the quarter with a three point play. The Blazers responded with a 4 point play, followed by two three-pointers. TNT was surely thrilled all around. As the Blazers pushed the lead to 10, Aldridge picked up his fourth foul and had to sit on the bench. That was a game-turner, as the Clippers immediately stormed back into the game. They scored 8 straight points and Portland needed a timeout. The Blazers attempted to pull ahead again, but Blake Griffin helped keep the Clippers close.
Portland 76, Los Angeles 73
Clips with a 20-point advantage in the paint. It’s the only reason they’re close.
by the new Bradfather
Fourth Quarter: Williams and Wright hit consecutive three's to open the quarter, forcing a Clipper timeout, now down 9. As the announcers proclaimed the greatness of the Clipper nucleus, the Blazers pushed the lead into double-figures, opening the quarter on a 12-4 run. Out of the timeout, Matthews was elbowed in the face, but it was missed by the refs, giving Paul an open three-pointer. Lillard hit a three in return, but Crawford and the red-hot Griffin hit three's for the Clippers. A steal and layup for LA cut the lead to three, and Portland called timeout. It didn't help, as the Clippers tied the game with another three-pointer. Batum nailed a jumper in response, and clocked a Paul layup with 3 minutes left.
Out of the timeout, Chris Paul tied the game with a fast break layup. Matthews was fouled as the clock ticked under two minutes, but only hit one for a one-point lead. Neither team could score on their next possessions, but Paul gave the Clippers the lead with a jumper at the one minute mark. Batum missed a layup, but Lopez tipped it in to regain the lead! Paul shook Batum though and hit yet another jumper to regain the lead.
With 40 seconds left, the Blazers called timeout. Aldridge was blocked at the other end, and Paul hit yet another jumper to put the Clippers ahead by 3. The Blazers got it to Batum for three... Swish! The Blazers tied the game with 5 seconds left! But the Clippers took the ball with a chance to win, and gave it to Paul... who finally missed a jumper. It's overtime!
Overtime: The Clippers came out hot to take the lead, while the Blazers struggled to hold onto the ball. Not a good start. But after stopping the Clippers twice, Aldridge drew DeAndre Jordan's sixth foul, plus hit the layup to give the Blazers the lead. The teams traded leads for a few minutes, with Matthews' free throws giving the Blazers a one point lead with a minute left. But Paul-to-Griffin for a dunk restored the Clipper lead.
At the other end, Aldridge shot a fadeaway... swish. The Blazers led again! They stopped Blake Griffin at the other end, and Matt Barnes absent-mindedly fouled Batum as he ran down court with under 30 seconds left. He swished both for a three-point Blazer lead, a mirror image of the end of regulation. The Clippers went to Griffin, who immediately dunked around Lopez. Still down by 1, the Clippers needed to foul, and Lillard went to the line. He hit both to restore the three-point lead with 20 seconds left. Jamal Crawford as fouled on the drive. He only hit one, leaving the Blazers up two with the ball. Timeout. The Clippers immediately fouled Matthews, who hit both! The Clippers missed a three-pointer, and that was all she wrote.
Another day off at home... then cue the ominous music, because the Miami Heat make their only appearance in Portland this season until Game 3 of the NBA Finals. Stay tuned tonight for more from Dave and Ben! -- Tim
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