The Trail Blazers stumbled in a blowout loss to the Clippers in their first road game of the season. Damian Lillard, who finished with 12 points, struggled from distance throughout his 28 minutes of action. Lillard went 0-for-8 from beyond the arc in Monday’s loss. Outside of Lillard’s struggles, the Blazers failed to protect the ball throughout the night. In the first three quarters, Portland surrendered 21 turnovers.
For the Clippers, Luke Kennard emerged from the bench to put on a show. The former Duke wing connected on his first five shots from the field and never looked back. Through three quarters, prior to reserve-heavy fourth quarter, Kennard recorded 20 points and connected on all but one of his attempts from the field.
CJ McCollum found his rhythm early thanks to a friendly matchup against former Blazers forward Nic Batum. McCollum had it rolling from everywhere early. The Clippers answered the call with equal contributions from Paul George and Reggie Jackson. Through the first six minutes, neither team could create separation from each other in the points column.
The final six minutes of the first frame unfolded in a much different fashion. The rim tightened for the Blazers. Only McCollum and Anfernee Simons connected on field goals in a tough six-minute stretch for Portland. Defensively, the Blazers could not match the Clippers pace. Los Angeles feasted on turnovers and secured a 14-point advantage in the process.
Portland finished the first quarter behind 31-to-17. From the field, the Blazers connected on just 33.3 percent of their attempts.
The Blazers’ sloppy play on offense carried over to start he second frame. Turnovers and uninspiring offensive sets plagued Portland, allowing the Clippers to maintain a cushy double-digit lead. Individually, reserve wing Luke Kennard could not miss. He connected on his first five attempts and finishing the first half with 17 points.
Thanks to contributions from McCollum and Simons, the Blazers avoided a 20-point hole in the second quarter. Through 24 minutes of action, Damian Lillard was the only player in Portland’s starting lineup that registered more assists than turnovers.
The Clippers cruised to the halftime break with a 56-42 lead.
Jackson emerged from intermission on fire. As the Blazers struggled with turnovers, Jackson relentlessly connected on open shots. After just three minutes, the Blazers signaled for a timeout as the Clippers approached a 20-point advantage. The temporary break in action did not deliver a shift in momentum, though. Portland’s turnover issues continued. Defensively, the Blazers could not stymie the Clippers’ free-flowing offense.
The Clippers were always one pass away from a favorable look. The Blazers, on the other hand, were always one pass away from a turnover. In the third quarter, the Clippers recorded 35 points and maintained a strong field goal percentage. The Blazers finished the third quarter down by 30 points.
With the game out of hand, the Blazers turned to their deep bench early in the fourth quarter. Woof. It was a rough night for Portland.
Stay tuned for our extended analysis later tonight.