The Blazers were in control for most of the night, but could never deliver a knockout blow. Portland would build up a comfortable lead, then the Clippers would chip away at it, refusing to go silently. That cycle repeated itself at least five or so times throughout the contest until time just simply ran out. It wasn’t anything extraordinary by any means, but the Blazers took care of business on its home floor and improved its roaring start of season to 9-3.
Random thoughts and takeaways:
Steady as she goes. Neither Damian Lillard or C.J. McCollum were particularly stellar, but they accounted for nearly half of the Portland’s offense and did just enough to keep L.A. at arm’s length for most of the night. Lillard led all scorers with 25 points, but struggled at times, particularly drawing free throws, where he attempted NONE, amazingly for the second time in a row this season. The Clippers did a good job keeping Dame for the most part relegated to the perimeter, and even frustrated him enough to draw out his first technical of the year.
Bench Press. The Clippers have by far the most statistically productive bench in the NBA, but tonight Portland certainly held its own. Although the damage was done primarily by just two players - Montrezl Harrell and Lou Williams, who combined for 39 points - L.A.’s second unit still outscored the Blazers 43-41. Through three quarters, this was one of the weaker outings from the Blazer reserves so far this season, giving back most of a nine-point first half lead, but made up for it by extending a three-point advantage going into the fourth quarter to double-digits. Portland would not look back. Zach Collins led the way with 10 points, but Meyers Leonard might have had the biggest impact, scoring seven in the final frame to bide time for Portland’s lead dogs.
Unheralded. L.A. might have cleaned house from your father’s Clippers, but this looks to be a squad that will be many a thorn in teams’ sides this season. Guys like Tobias Harris, Harrell and Williams might not exactly be household names, but with depth surrounding them they are mightily capable of winning ballgames. The West is going to be a bloodbath this season.
The Blazers get a couple days off before hosting Kyrie Irving and the Boston Celtics Sunday evening.