A struggling Damian Lillard mixed with a poor shooting night as a team add up to a 2-0 deficit for the Blazers in the best-of-seven series against the Clippers. The Blazers hover around 30% shooting most of the night and the Clippers run away with the game in the fourth quarter.
The Blazers were led by Mason Plumlee with 17 points, 10 rebounds, 7 assists, 2 steals and 1 block. The Clippers were led by Chris Paul with 24 points, 5 assists and 6 rebounds.
DeAndre Jordan may have committed the quickest foul in NBA history when he grabbed Mason Plumlee's arm on the tip-off and was called for a foul. It was not indicative of things to come, however, as it was the Blazers who got into early foul trouble and missed some easy shots from close range to allow the Clippers an early 8-2 lead. J.J. Redick was the hot man early, hitting his first three shots including two from deep and had 11 total in the quarter. Offensively, the Blazers struggled, CJ McCollum being the only Blazer generating more than two points. In an interesting chess move, the Blazers went to Ed Davis and Chris Kaman first off the bench. Though Kaman looked rusty and unsure at times, the two bigs helped slow the Clippers offense and maintained Portland's healthy rebounding advantage. Despite shooting just a hair above 30%, the Blazers found themselves down only five after one.
End of First: Portland 17 , L.A. Clippers 22
The Clippers sprinted out to an 8-0 run thanks to an uninterested Portland defense and LA's second unit taking over offensively. Before you came back with that second slice of pizza and a beer, the Clippers were up by double digits. Mason Plumlee was having himself a half, however, whether it was a steal, a block, or an assist; Plumlee was active on both ends of the court. Damian Lillard continued to struggle and the Blazers couldn't find anyone to reliably score during the half, save for McCollum's first quarter and it hurt Portland's chances at cutting into the Clippers lead no matter how well they were holding the Clippers back offensively. All that being said, the Blazers managed to climb back late in the quarter by taking advantage of seven Clippers turnovers, converting those into 12 fast break points. Kaman hit a jumper to cut the lead to six before the Blazers went to the hack-a-DeAndre tactic to earn another possession before the buzzer; it worked as McCollum hit a pair of free throws to end the half. One can only imagine if Lillard, or any Blazer for that matter, ever got going. Thankfully there was a second half on the horizon. J.J. Redick led the Clippers with 13. The Blazers were led by Mason Plumlee and CJ McCollum with 11 points each.
Halftime: Portland 43, L.A. Clippers 47
Two quick turnovers led to 4 quick points for the Clippers to start the second half. The Blazers continued their game long tradition of poor shooting while the ghost of Damian Lillard was witnessed by some running up and down the court. Moe Harkless drained back-to-back threes to resurrect Portland, which was followed by a Lillard dunk with his left hand and a McCollum three to miraculously cut the lead back to just three. For a stretch, both teams exchanged misses like a charity event for the visually-impaired. The Blazers were unable to maintain any momentum as their ice cold shooting progressed. Portland went back to hack-a-DeAndre with about a minute left, because, as viewers, we hadn't seen enough basketballs clanging off the rim badly enough tonight. Portland made a nice defensive stop on Jamal Crawford on LA's last possession, but the Blazers missed a put-back at the rim to end the quarter.
End of Third: Portland 61, L.A. Clippers 67
The Clippers extended their lead to 10 as Portland's field goal percentage continued to dip dangerously close to the 20s. LA's bench outclassed anything Portland had as a group, starters or otherwise, and keyed another Clippers run to bump their led to 15, finding a way to do what the Blazers could not the entire game, which is build up a little offensive momentum. With no answers by the Blazers, the Clips eventually ran away with this game by mid-quarter. A close game suddenly flipped into a 20 point blowout, and the Blazers played out the game with defeated body language.
The Blazers head home for Game 3 on Saturday for a must win game. Tip off is at 7:30 PM. Stay tuned to Blazer's Edge tonight, for extended analysis of this game from Dave Deckard.