LaMarcus Aldridge had 29 points and 9 rebounds, Batum had 20 points, 7 rebounds, and 8 assists, and the Portland Trail Blazers overcame a 1-of-13 shooting night from Damian Lillard to rally past the Los Angeles Clippers, 98-93 Wednesday night at Staples Center.
Both teams started cold from the field, shooting 2-of-8, but the Blazers got going on the back of Nicolas Batum. Batum hit his first four shots and scored 10 in the period to lead Portland. Aldridge had nine in the quarter, including a technical free throw when Clippers coach Doc Rivers was called for yelling at the referees. Chris Paul scored nine for the Clippers to keep them close, but Portland led by four after one.
Ball control went south for Portland in the second, as they committed seven turnovers, including three in their first four possessions of the quarter. This was combined with the Clipper guards outscoring the Blazers guards 31-6 in the half, allowing Los Angeles to re-take the lead. Portland's scoring in the period came on the back of Robin Lopez,who grabbed four offensive rebounds and scored eight points. The biggest bucket came off a missed three in the corner from Dorell Wright, which Lopez slammed back off of the rim. The teams traded buckets at the end of the half, with the Clippers leading by two at halftime.
The poor shooting piled on for Portland at the start of the second half, as they shot just 2-of-9 at the beginning of the third quarter. The Clippers expanded their lead to as high as 11, but after Chris Paul suffered a knee injury, the Blazers were able to get back into the game with strong defense. Aldridge had 10 in the quarter, but the rest of the Blazers starters shot 0-for-7 in the period, and Aldridge and Chris Kaman were the only Blazers to hit a field goal. Free throws kept Portland in the game, and they trailed by just two after three.
The shots continued to miss for the Blazers into the fourth, while Paul checked back in and scored ten points. Portland missed eleven of their first fourteen shots, and Los Angeles opened an eight point lead. The Blazers resorted to the "Hack-a-Jordan" strategy to foul DeAndre Jordan and limit the Clippers offense. Yet, with under two minutes to play, the Blazers rallied. Aldridge hit a field goal to cut the lead to six, and Wesley Matthews drilled a three off a miss by Paul to get the lead to three. The teams traded baskets, but after a missed shot by J.J. Redick, Batum hit a three to tie the game. Paul threw the ball out of bounds with under five seconds remaining, but Batum went for the ball on the belief that a Blazer had tipped it, giving the Clippers the final shot. Paul had an open shot, but missed, sending the game to overtime. Jordan had a shot to win the game, but lost track of time, as did the Clippers timekeeper:
The teams traded point to start the overtime, but Portland got the lead on an alley-oop from Batum to Lillard. After a Clipper turnover, Batum went second verse, same as the first, this time to Aldridge. Paul came right back with back-to-back buckets to tie the game. Batum went right back to Aldridge on another alley-oop for a two point lead. On the other end, Batum swatted away a Redick shot, and followed it up by hitting a three to seal the game.
Chris Kaman led the bench scoring with eight. Robin Lopez had 11 points and 7 rebounds, though just one defensive rebound. Portland shot just 8-of-31 from three-point range. Lillard's 1-for-13 shooting night is the third worst of his career. His all-time worst was 1-for-16, February 10th, 2013 versus Orlando. Lillard also had 17 rebounds, the most a Blazers guard has had since Brandon Roy had 14 in 2008 versus Seattle.
Terry Stotts says Batum scored or assisted on the Blazers last 19 points.— Mike Richman (@mikegrich) March 5, 2015
Damian Lillard shoots 1-13 and finishes with a game-high +14. Of course.— Dan Sheldon (@DanSheldonCSN) March 5, 2015
"Hey Nico, you're my hero." -- @wessywes2— Casey Holdahl (@CHold) March 5, 2015
Matthews on his right hand: "Hurts like hell." #Blazers— Jabari Young (@JabariJYoung) March 5, 2015
Aldridge said after big baby forced him into that fumbling corner 3 he ditched the thumb brace for the night— Mike Richman (@mikegrich) March 5, 2015
Make that 15 wins when trailing by double figures. OKC and SA led the league in that category last year with 14 apiece.— Mike Barrett (@blazermb) March 5, 2015
Lillard on the win: “It got rough. It seemed like it was over almost, but we just kept fitting and found a way.” #Blazers— Jabari Young (@JabariJYoung) March 5, 2015