On Tuesday night, the Clippers got their fifth win in a row when they defeated the Trail Blazers 117-109. Keep reading for a full recap of the Clippers’ win over the Blazers.
Fresh off of a Western Conference Player of the Week award, Paul George found the shooting touch that had escaped him in the previous two games, helping give the Clippers an early 10-point cushion. But, it all evaporated moments later as a series of fly-by’s and frenetic defensive rotations set off a string of Portland uncontested makes. At the same time, L.A.’s early offense stalled momentarily as the Trail Blazers’ lead grew to as many as six points. Reggie Jackson and Terance Mann picked up the slack and were the catalysts of a 13-0 Clippers flurry down the stretch of the opening quarter to take a 33-26 lead into the second frame.
As mostly reserves took the stage at the onset of the second quarter, the game got a bit out of sorts; turnovers, fouls, and missed sloppy offensive possessions let Portland back into the game. The starters for both teams returned and played about evenly for the duration of the quarter. But Norman Powell’s 16 points and 4/4 shooting from deep sent the Blazers into the half down just one.
The physicality picked up over the opening moments of the second half. Referees let the guys play through contact, which took the Clips out of their rhythm offensively. Both team’s offenses came alive, however, as the quarter dragged along. Nicolas Batum was the man of the third quarter for L.A. while Nasir Little and a variety of second-unit Trail Blazers chipped in to keep the score nearly even throughout the remainder of the quarter.
An 8-3 start to the fourth put the Clips in control of the game until Damian Lillard found a few openings and turned them into points. However, the game turned when Zu and Batum re-emerged from the Clippers’ bench midway through the quarter. Their return immediately tightened the defense and displayed some of the most beautiful possessions of the season in clutch time. Finally, Paul George brought the team home on the offensive end as the Clippers defeated Portland 117-109 in the second of six straight home games.
- Rebounding – The rebounding battle was dead even, but I couldn’t help but take note of the many offensive rebounds that kept the Blazers within striking distance whenever it felt like the Clips were ready to put together a run. The big reason for it is that the Clippers’ shot-blockers had to contest shots at the rim, leaving the weakside uncontested for offensive boards. Such rebounding issues will be resolved with different defensive coverages, so I’m ultimately not too worried.
- Big-man Rotation – How the center minutes were distributed was pretty interesting. Zu started, per usual, and Serge backed him up. However, after Serge’s rough first stint, he didn’t see the court again. Instead, it was Hartenstein or Zu for the rest of the game. I actually like this. Serge is not being “punished” or “benched,” Lue simply rewards the players who are better impacting the game. Serge will be better as he gets back to being himself.
The Clippers will have a day off before they lace ’em up on Thursday against the Miami Heat. Follow the game live at 7:30 p.m. PT on Bally Sports West, NBA TV, or A.M. 570, and return here to 213Hoops for game coverage. For now, just enjoy the Clippers’ entertaining win over the Blazers.