The Portland Trail Blazers followed back-to-back blowout losses on the road with a heartbreaking defeat to the Los Angeles Clippers at home on Sunday night, falling 104-100 behind a career-high 34 points from Tobias Harris.
The Blazers held a double-digit halftime lead, but the Clippers stormed back in the second half, doing just enough to hold on for the victory. Damian Lillard led Portland with 30 points on the night, including a personal 7-0 run late in the fourth quarter to tie the game at 100. Danilo Gallinari sank the go-ahead bucket with under a minute remaining.
Here are a few takeaways from tonight’s game:
- Tale of two halves. The Clippers shot just 34% and were held to 45 points in the first half, but outscored the Blazers 38-16 in the third quarter to take a nine-point lead into the fourth. A big reason for the Blazers’ troubles was a shoulder injury to Jusuf Nurkic, which kept him sidelined after the break. Poor shooting also contributed to the bad run.
- Great bench production. Portland’s second unit had another solid effort tonight, particularly Meyers Leonard and Evan Turner. Leonard logged big minutes in place of the injured Nurkic, along with Zach Collins fouling out, and responded with nine points and a career-high 16 rebounds. Turner scored a season-high 17 and also pulled down five boards.
- Moe returns to starting rotation. Maurice Harkless made his first start of the season, and played 12 minutes in the first half, but only five in the second half and finished with four points. Jake Layman, who started the first 19 games of the season in his stead, did not see any action.
The Blazers face the Orlando Magic on Wednesday night in Portland. Stay tuned for a deeper dive into tonight’s game from Brian Freeman.