LaMarcus Aldridge had 29 points, Nicolas Batum had 21 points, but the the Los Angeles Clippers 126-122 Wednesday night at Moda Center.
The first quarter was a display of dominance on the part of LaMarcus Aldridge. Aldridge shot 7-of-9 from the field in the quarter for 16 points, tearing up anything and everything the Clippers did to stop him. The Blazers as a team shot 64% from the field, with Damian Lillard, Batum, and Robin Lopez each scoring five, and Portland led by as many as ten. With Aldridge drilling a shot at the buzzer, the Blazers led by seven after one.
In the battle of the benches, Portland blasted the Los Angles bench to start the second quarter. The Clippers missed eight of their first ten shots, and the Blazers responded with a 14-2 run to extend the lead to as many as 19. Once the starters came back in, Los Angles rallied behind Blake Griffin and Chris Paul. Portland hit right back with ten in the quarter from Batum and seven from Arron Afflalo, and the Blazers took a 13 point lead into halftime.
Portland cooled off slightly in the third quarter, allowing the Clippers to get back into the ball game, closing to as close as five. Batum had six, Lillard had five, and Portland got the lead back to 11 before tempers erupted at the end of the period. Chris Kaman grabbed an offensive rebound, but had the ball stripped away by Paul. Kaman responded by shoving Paul in the back to the ground, starting a brief scrum. During the scrum, Glen Davis threw himself onto the floor in an attempt to get Aldridge ejected, which the referees promptly ignored. Kaman was assessed a flagrant one foul, and Paul would total a four point play to close the gap. Portland would retain a seven point lead after three.
The foul seemed to galvanize the Clippers, especially on the defensive end of the floor. Portland scored just eight points for the first six and a half minutes of the fourth quarter, and a three point barrage by J.J. Redick, Griffin, and Paul led a 22-5 run for Los Angeles. Paul scored twelve of his 41 in the fourth quarter as the Clippers expanded their lead to 11. Portland had one final rally, cutting the lead back down to as little as two behind eight points by CJ McCollum, but simply ran out of time. Blazers starters shot 3-of-12 in the final period.
McCollum led the bench with 13 points. Kaman had eight points and seven rebounds. Lillard had 18 points and 10 assists.
"That was an offensive foul." -- Terry Stotts on the Redick no-call.— Erik Gundersen (@blazerbanter) April 2, 2015
If not for the division deal, #Blazers would be in No. 6 spot in West, behind Clippers and San Antonio.— Mike Tokito (@mtokito) April 2, 2015
Chris Kaman refused to comment on his shove of Chris Paul. But his reasoning for it was clear: Paul hit him in the ... well, you know.— Joe Freeman (@BlazerFreeman) April 2, 2015
"I didn't shove him at all. I didn't" — LaMarcus Aldridge re: Big Baby's theatrics— Casey Holdahl (@CHold) April 2, 2015
Say this for Big Baby: He further sells flop by popping up, getting into Aldridge's face as if protesting being shoved. Commits totally.— Mike Tokito (@mtokito) April 2, 2015
X-Rays confirm Portland F Dorell Wright sustained a fracture of his 4th metacarpal bone tonight in his left hand. His status is TBD.— Trail Blazers PR (@TrailBlazersPR) April 2, 2015
This is the 4th metacarpal: pic.twitter.com/UOmy05Xuyv— Mike Richman (@mikegrich) April 2, 2015
"It's all good. No hard feelings." — Chris Paul on the shove from Chris Kaman— Casey Holdahl (@CHold) April 2, 2015
Thing is...its Wright's left hand, not his shooting hand. Told me it happened a few plays before he came out the game in the 4th #Blazers— Jabari Young (@JabariJYoung) April 2, 2015
Doc Rivers, Chris Paul and Matt Barnes all said the altercation didn't do much in terms of motivation. They were already playing great.— Casey Holdahl (@CHold) April 2, 2015
Dorell Wright just told me if he can play through the injury, he will. Expects to find out more info in a few days #Blazers— Jabari Young (@JabariJYoung) April 2, 2015
Chris Kaman would not talk about the incident with Chris Paul postgame. Said he would talk about basketball though. #Blazers— Amy Schwartz (@TheAmySchwartz) April 2, 2015
"It's difficult when you not getting the stops. Sometimes your defense can impact your offense." -- Arron Afflalo on Portland's 2nd half O.— Erik Gundersen (@blazerbanter) April 2, 2015
After tonight, Portland's defense is 24th in defensive efficiency since the All-Star break. They were top-4 pre All-Star.— Erik Gundersen (@blazerbanter) April 2, 2015
Stotts has been hammering it home for a few weeks about the defense. This was just the latest example of slippage.— Erik Gundersen (@blazerbanter) April 2, 2015
“It’s always hard to lose one that you have control of, but I think at this point of the season your try to live and learn from it.” LMA— Amy Schwartz (@TheAmySchwartz) April 2, 2015