The Portland Trailblazers (24-5) escaped Los Angeles Clippers (20-11) tonight in the Moda Center 116-112.
Like most TNT games the first few minutes were not televised, but tonight was not nearly as bad as nights past. However, with how both teams were playing, maybe the game shouldn’t have been viewed by anyone. Both teams missed a plethora of shots, but especially the Clippers, who finished sub 30 percent for the quarter. Blake Griffin had two early fouls and the Clippers offense made the Blazers defense look like the best in the business. The second to last Blazer’s possession of the first quarter epitomized the first twelve minutes; Batum missed a three, Freeland missed a put back, Aldridge missed a 6 footer and then Matt Barnes dropped an easy rebound and let the ball jam his finger as it sailed out of bounds. The score ended 19-14 in favor of the Blazers.
The Clippers missed just about everything to start the second quarter until their first three pointer, four minutes in. By then the Blazers had built a bigger lead and responded to the Clipper’s three with two of their own thanks to Mo-Will. The Clippers went on a mini-run thanks to sloppy play by the Blazers, but LaMarcus righted the ship, quickly hitting three jumpers in a row. But an 11-2 run by the Clippers to end the quarter saw them only down by one (46-47) going into the locker room.
LMA knocked down an early shot and then another one as Jordan fouled him, causing Doc to earn a technical. Doc Rivers must not watch many Blazer games because LaMarcus gets that and-one every time. The technical did not inspire the Clippers and Doc was forced to call a time-out after two more Blazer threes. An all too familiar trend saw the Clippers fight back to get within one possession, but the Blazers continued to bend and not break. Leonard shot a three that missed, but made up for it by taking a charge against Blake and then scoring on the other end. A little more back and forth, another late push by the Clippers and the Blazers lead was three at the end of the third.
A barrage of jumpers by the Blazers pushed the lead to nine and forced Doc to call an early timeout. The Clippers made yet another push followed by another run by the Blazers. Again, the Clippers made a push (story of the night) except this time LMA’s jumpers were not falling and with a minute to go the Clips took the lead thanks to key three point shooting, including one by Blake Griffin. A CP3 jumper gave the Clippers their first lead and another Paul jumper gave the Clippers a three point lead with nine seconds to go! Batum canned his second three of the game after a time-out but left five seconds on the clock. Paul danced around and had a good look but missed the game winning shot. OVERTIME
The buckets were raining from the get-go of overtime as both teams struggled to get shots. DeAndre Jordan committed his sixth foul and the ball went through LaMarcus every time. LMA hit a key three point play that gave the Blazers the lead back. Two more Damian free throws with less than a minute remaining and the Blazers were up three. Crawford was fouled and took a circus shot that had everyone holding their breath, but the ball did not find its way into the basket. Crawford missed the first of his very key free throws and the Blazers sank all six of theirs to take the victory 116-112.
- Calling Thomas Robinson…?
- Blake had one rebound in the first half. LMA had two. Leonard had six in his six minutes.
- Watching Blake sink open jumper after open jumper, someone should have been up on him more, he even sank a three.
- Keep in mind the Blazers were VERY well rested, while the Clippers lost a very emotional game on Christmas to Golden State.
- LMA with another huge game, 32-10, Lopez with 11-15.
- Mo Williams had a good game with 12-8 off the bench. His three’s were what kept the Clippers at bay for most of the game.
- 6 Blazers had at least 7 rebounds. 60 in total. Clippers had 48.
- That offset the turnovers, Blazers 16, Clippers 5. Had the Blazers lost this would have been the only stat to look at.
The Blazers host the two-time defending champions on Saturday. The Miami Heat have been dialed in and will want to make a statement against the NBA best Portland Trail Blazers.