The LA Clippers’ dominance of below-.500 teams continued on Friday night as they served up the Portland Trail Blazers, on their home court, their second-straight uncompetitive loss. Keep reading for a full recap of the game.


If there was any concern about the Clippers falling victim to a Friday-night trap game vs. an injury-riddled Trail Blazers squad, Paul George and Kawhi Leonard quickly put that idea to bed, scoring 19 of the Clippers’ first 27 points en route to a 42-point opening frame for LA. That particular formula was copied and pasted throughout the contest, keeping the Clippers up comfortably throughout the game and landing them a 20-plus-point cushion by the start of the final frame. Along with stellar play from the other starters, the duo’s combined 53 points (31 for George, 22 for Leonard) on 19-29 shooting through three quarters was ultimately enough to land the Clippers a 125-117 victory. Just enough.

The fourth quarter was bad, and the final four or so minutes were particularly dreadful to watch. Dreadful enough to see the Clippers’ once 25-point fourth-quarter lead dwindle to as few as six points. But while frustrating to sit through, nobody should come away from this game with any additional concerns from the near debacle — Leonard and George didn’t touch the court all fourth quarter, Norman Powell didn’t suit up, and the unit that almost completely let go of the rope featured many players who won’t see the court when April hits.

As for some legitimate takeaways from this game…

Paul George is finding his groove. The PG script is alive and well: begin the season like a borderline All-NBA performer, pumpkin into a non-allstar level of player by the midway point, and then round back into early-season form as the postseason nears. Friday’s 31-point showing gives PG nine-straight games now with at least 20 points, and double-digit makes in four of the last five. His play on the defensive end has also been noticeably good, but him being this caliber of player on the offensive end is likely what’ll matter more come postseason time when James Harden runs hot and cold while defenses do what they can to get the ball out of Kawhi’s hands.

PJ Tucker? PJ Tucker! Ok, so the exclamation point is probably unnecessary. Actually, it’s quite unnecessary for someone who’s made exactly one basket over the past two wins. But dare I say that the consistent minutes Tucker’s received since the All-Star break have given him enough reps to round into form and become a rotation-worthy player again? His activity on the offensive glass and as an off-ball defender hasn’t wavered. And the fact that he’s now taking (and making, sometimes) corner threes is a positive. We know Ty will turn to him at some point during the postseason, and it seems like we’ve graduated from the idea of that being a disaster to it now being a fathomable one.

Ty Lue and Bones Hyland aren’t on the same page. It didn’t take but one Bones Hyland shift into Wednesday’s win at Portland for Lue to completely go away from giving real rotation minutes to any point guard not named James Harden. With James on the bench, the Clippers opted to use Kawhi as the defacto “point guard,” running offense through him in the post and letting him react to double-teams. With Russell Westbrook reportedly on his way back, you have to wonder if Bones has seen his last true opportunity. But more interestingly, from a strategic standpoint, could Ty be tipping his hand at some funky, positionless playoff lineups? Makes you wonder.


A win is a win, and the Clippers need to keep stacking as many as possible during this advantageous portion of the schedule as far as their level of competition goes. If nothing else, they have a real chance to use the rest of this month to regain some of the good vibes and confidence they bolstered earlier in the year. 

But first things first, they’ll need to be ready to go Sunday afternoon vs. Philadelphia.

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