To say the Clippers shot poorly in the first half is like saying Bill Clinton kind of enjoys the company of women. LA went 15 for 45 in the first half for one of the ugliest shooting displays in the NBA all year. This was a season low in points for both the Clippers and the Blazers in what could be called defensive struggle, but in reality it was more of an offensive impotence.
Portland charged out of the gates in the 2nd half scoring the first seven points and taking a 50-32 lead. LA bounced back with the play of their All-Stars. Blake Griffin led the way with 21 points and 14 rebounds for a solid double-double. Chris Paul who didn’t even score in the first three quarters decided to appear in the 4th and went off to finish with 13 points. It’s a shame his play has been consistently inconsistent this year or the Clippers would really be taking the West by storm.
Nicolas Batum and Jamal Crawford both scored 19 for Portland who must have been shocked to be dominating the Clippers without the play of their All-Star big man LaMarcus Aldridge, who sprained his left ankle in Tuesday’s game against Washington. With Aldridge out Portland focused more on defense and found they had the equation of how to shut down LA for three quarters.
In the fourth it was CP3 hitting a layup, a 3, and a 16-footer with just a couple minutes left in the game to put LA on top. Portland eventually had their shot to tie it, but Wesley Matthews’ wild 3-pointer missed as time expired. LA proved they have some heart in this game.
Lob City is known for their flash and fun relaxed style of balling, but here they showed another side to this team. They showed a team not afraid to grind out a win. It’s that side to the Clippers they’ll need to develop if they want to win a brutal seven game series against the best in the West. That’s when they’ll rely on the expertise of the true general of this team, Chauncey Billups. At this point in the year though, it’s all about staying healthy and maintaining position in the standings.
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