Damian Lillard put the team on his back and the Portland Trail Blazers managed to put away the Los Angeles Clippers 131-127 Monday night on the road.
Lillard erupted for 22 of his 39 points in an explosive third quarter, where the Blazers hung a season best 42 points on the Clippers and from there ran away with the victory.
Random thoughts and takeaways:
Starting point. If you watched the Toronto game, and saw the Blazer bench be a spark to an inspiring and energetic upset, this was about the opposite of that - Portland’s starters came out swinging, leading the Blazers to one of its best starts of the season - only to be squandered by the second unit and ultimately rescued by a superstar performance from Lillard.
In a dazzling first quarter, Portland put on display some of its best ball movement and execution so far this season, scoring 37 points on 10 assists with zero turnovers, while building a comfortable lead into the second quarter. It looked like the Blazers were about to run way with it.
Instead, the bench struggled to score and primarily allowed L.A. take a small two point lead into the locker room at half, before Lillard went nuclear in the third to seal the win.
Blake who? Tobias Harris is a criminally underrated player in this league, and about the only reason L.A. was in this game in the first place. Harris scored 39 points of his own, most of which during stints where the Clippers were most threatening, and went formidably toe-to-toe with Dame. The Clippers won the Blake Griffin trade hands-down.
The Blazers will return to the Moda Center to begin a three game homestand against the Memphis Grizzlies Wednesday night at 7 p.m.