Led by the trio of Paul George, Kawhi Leonard and Reggie Jackson, the L.A. Clippers (34-18) picked up their 20th win of the season against a Western Conference opponent, defeating the Portland Trail Blazers 133-116 Tuesday. George played one of his best games of the season with 36 points, 5 assists and 6 threes. As the first Clipper off the bench, Jackson knocked down four triples while tallying 16 of his 23 points in the second half. Leonard flirted with a triple-double, putting up 29 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists. Norman Powell had a strong showing for Portland (30-20) with a team-high 32 points, while converting on 14 of 15 trips to the free throw line. Read on for our full Clippers vs. Trail Blazers game recap.
As might have been expected from two of the NBA’s elite offenses this season, both teams got off to a blazing start. At the game’s first stoppage nearly five minutes in, the Clippers carved out a 20-12 advantage with four triples en route to a perfect 9-for-9 shooting start. In his first minutes since March 11, Patrick Beverley reminded Clipper Nation why he’s so beloved with a steal and two threes to set the intensity for L.A. early. Aside from poor boxouts on Enes Kanter and a personal 11-point scoring run from CJ McCollum, the Clippers’ scorching offense overshadowed just about all other concerns. While Kawhi Leonard and Ivica Zubac picked up some bad fouls early, Paul George dominated with four threes and 22 points (7-9 FG)—the most in the first quarter for a Clipper since March 2014. When all was said and done, the Clippers finished the opening frame ahead with a season-high 47 points compared to the Blazers’ 32.
The second quarter started off with more of the same as back-to-back 3-pointers from Leonard and Nicolas Batum swelled L.A.’s lead to 20 and prompted a quick Terry Stotts timeout. Moments later, the Clippers really started to dance as DeMarcus Cousins checked in for the first time for LAC. Boogie didn’t miss a step in his brief stint, hustling for a putback layup and knocking down a long corner two for his first pair of buckets. After trailing by as much as 26, however, Portland began to make its run. Down 36-62, the Blazers held the Clippers to 3 of 11 (27.3%) shooting from three, forced two costly turnovers and went to the line 12 times to salvage the halftime score 66-73 after a 30-11 run.
Battling out the Blazers 28-23 in the third, however, the Clippers recovered the momentum in dueling banjos fashion. After coming out cold as a pair of Beverley and Leonard early-shot-clock threes missed the mark, the Clippers fueled an 11-2 run by attacking the rim for three consecutive layups to go back up by 14. The Blazers then retaliated with a 12-0 run behind jumpers and free throws, which was met by the heroics of Reggie Jackson. Scoring in isolation, connecting with Batum on a nice give-and-go three and pitching in on the Frustrate Damian Lillard Committee with Rajon Rondo, Jackson and the Clippers led 101-89 through three.
In the fourth, the Blazers came within as much as seven with 9:37 left, but were denied by the combined 22 points of George, Leonard and Jackson the rest of the way.
Clippers vs. Trail Blazers Game Notes
- Switching Up the Minutes: As Lue folds Beverley, Rondo and Cousins into the mix, it’ll be interesting to see what this means for the younger guys as Zubac (24:01), Terance Mann (9:53) and Luke Kennard (3:18) took quite the minutes hit in this one.
- Successful Defensive Stand on Dame: After mentioning pre-game that he wanted his team to blitz Damian Lillard from the jump, Lue’s Clippers held the potential MVP candidate to 11 points on 2-for-14 shooting.
- Up Next: The Clippers will host the Phoenix Suns at Staples Center for their second matchup of the regular season Thursday, Apr. 8 at 7 p.m.
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