On a night the Blazers struggled to score, where every point was hard to come by, Portland scrapped and hustled all game to give the Clippers all they could handle. Portland had the lead late but went on another unfortunate dry spell, giving the Clippers the last possession in regulation of a tie game. J.J. Reddick hit a jumper just as time expired to give the Clippers the 96-94 win.
The Blazers were led by Damian Lillard with 18 points and 8 assist and Ed Davis with 12 points and 8 rebounds. The Clippers were led by Chris Paul with 25 points and 7 assists.
Before the game, the Blazers announced that center Meyers Leonard had been shut down for the season, and was getting surgery on his injured shoulder.
OutKast: "I say what's, what's cooler than bein' cool? (The Blazers and Clippers in the first quarter) Woo....Alright, alright, alright....." This was an ugly quarter. Both teams started atrociously from the field; the Clippers began 0-6 while the Blazes were a scintillating 1-6 early. It was not a pretty sight for most of the first 12 minutes, but a Gerald Henderson made three, the first in seven attempts by the Blazers, late in the quarter gave the Blazers the lead. What Portland lacked in shot making, they made up for in hustle and rebounds. Portland ended the quarter on an 11-2 run to take a three point lead as both teams shot just 33%.
End of First: Portland 21, L.A. Clippers 18
Ed Davis continued his strong play as of late, epitomizing everything Portland was doing well: hustle, rebounds and interior scoring. The Blazers still couldn't make a bucket from outside 10 feet, the majority of their scoring coming from within the paint. Turnovers and poor shooting continued to make life difficult for the Blazers as L.A.'s Chris Paul shook off an apparent knee bump to lead a late Clippers surge. The Blazes went to hack-a-DeAndre late, much to the delight of the home crowd, but even DeAndre Jordan was making more shots from outside the paint than the Blazers. Portland was just 1-13 from downtown and shot just 38% overall in the half. Ed Davis had 11 points and 5 rebounds for the Blazers. For the Clippers, Chris Paul had 14 points and four assists.
Halftime: Portland 39, L.A. Clippers 46
An 11-0 run by the Blazers fueled hopes for a better second half, including a three by CJ McCollum who up until this point was posting more negatives than Duke fans were on Twitter. The Blazers found a small rhythm on offense, meaning they actually made an outside shot or two, and were able to muster a lead mid-way through the period. But Jamal Crawford got into one his mini-zones and the Clippers wrestled back the lead as Portland went stone cold again, going nearly five minutes without a field goal and halting any momentum they had built in the quarter. The Blazers got the Clippers in early foul trouble (as they did in the first half) but failed to make any positives out of it (as they did in the first half), especially on a night when shots were not falling. However, despite all of this, and the Clipper's unwillingness to put a struggling team away, the Blazers hung around; Allen Crabbe hit a buzzer three to tie the game going into the fourth quarter.
End of Third: Portland 65, L.A. Clippers 65
Again, Portland got L.A. into the penalty early and showed some needed aggression to take a five point lead at the halfway mark. A 13-4 Blazers run put Portland up 83-76 as it was the Clippers who went cold and the Blazers continued to grind it out and finding ways to manufacture some critical points. CJ McCollum found his shot late and led the Blazers offense, helping Portland to a 88-84 lead with two minutes remaining. But, the Blazers went cold yet again and with 51 seconds remaining, Jamal Crawford hit a three to give the Clippers the lead off a second chance opportunity. Lillard, quiet most of the night, responded with a bucket and a foul off of two hobbled ankles. The Clippers responded with Chris Paul driving hard to the hoop, drawing a foul. Two free throws later, the game was tied with 42 seconds remaining.
With no timeout called after the Paul free throws, Damian Lillard hit a step-back three to lift the Blazers to three point lead with 24 seconds remaining. The Blazers responded with solid defense, but Jamal Crawford launched a looong three and nailed it with 11 seconds left to tie the game. The Blazers failed to score on their final possession as neither Lillard nor McCollum were able to get their hands on the ball, a flailing Moe Harkless shot was all they could muster. On the Clippers final play, J.J. Redick hit the shot at the buzzer to give the Clippers the win, breaking the hearts of a Blazers team that played theirs out.
The Blazers are back at home Saturday night to take on perennial lottery participants, the Philadelphia 76ers. Tip off is at 7 p.m. Stay tuned to Blazer's Edge tonight, for extended analysis of this game from Dave Deckard.