Things haven’t been very easy for the Blazers lately. An injury-ridden frontcourt left Hassan Whiteside and Skal Labissierre as the only two pure bigs healthy enough to play. They fought hard to earn late leads Thursday night at the Staples Center, but couldn’t hold on as Kawhi Leonard and Lou Williams sank Portland’s hopes of a road upset. Portland controlled the lead for 9:42 of the fourth quarter.
- Clippers: Landry Shamet, Patrick Beverley, Kawhi Leonard, Patrick Patterson, Ivica Zubac
- Blazers: Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum, Rodney Hood, Anthony Tolliver, Hassan Whiteside
- The Blazers and Clippers both wore their throwback uniforms—Portland in the red 70s tributes and Los Angeles in the white Braves throwbacks.
First Quarter: Clippers 26, Blazers 22
- Dame 4-point play on the second possession of the game (11:20)
- Kawhi and Shamet fail on fastbreak (7:20)
- Patterson dunk/3 on next two possessions (6:20)
- Dame gets one look and buries a three (5:23)
- Zubac getting offensive rebounds/2nd chance pts
- Allowing Kawhi to get near the basket – 2
- Blazers no offensive rhythm – shot 36% on 8/22
- Rodney getting open looks, although he’s only knocked down 1/3
- Clips keep switching Dame onto Kawhi – he didn’t do too poorly
- Dame added a steal at the end of the first quarter on Lou Will
- CJ slow start: 1-5 shooting
Damian Lillard looked to establish his presence early, but a lackluster overall first quarter set the tone for a largely uneventful first half.
Second Quarter: Clippers 47, Blazers 40
- Montrezl Harrell rejects Mario Hezonja (10:55)
- Hood breaks up a fastbreak on his own (8:35)
- Harrell open dunk/Hezonja airball (7:44)
- Skal fouls Kawhi but takes most of the punishment (6:45)
- Whiteside misses like four chances to score as Dame misses a technical free throw (2:40)
- Dame 3, then emphatic jam, then followed his shot and scored in consecutive possessions (last few mins)
- CJ kicks Patterson in the face while fading away (:2.1)
- Gets flagrant foul
- Blazers fouling – 9 in the quarter
- Still no offensive rhythm – shot 29% on 8/28
- Clips closing out effectively
The Clippers continued their stout defense in the second quarter. At times it seemed as though neither team wanted the lead, both missing opportunities to seize control.
Third Quarter: Clippers 70, Blazers 76
- Whiteside gets a frustration dunk off (9:00)
- Beverley fouls McCollum, gets very angry (8:09)
- Kent Bazemore picks up 4th foul (7:55)
- Hassan tough putback and-one (7:33)
- Sweet Lou airballs a floater (6:52)
- Dame takes the lead (5:00)
- Tedious/ugly game; neither team taking control
- Lots of fouls – Blazers over the limit with 7+ minutes left for the second quarter in a row
- CJ and Dame both heating up
CJ found his shooter’s touch in the third quarter, scoring 14 points. The Blazers beefed up their defense.
Fourth Quarter: Clippers 107, Blazers 101
- Anfernee Simons pull-up 3
- Hezonja dunk (6:20)
- Whiteside dunk, then and-one (1:45, 1:15)
- Lou fadeaway elbow (1:00)
- Lou saucy 3 to go up by four (:31.7)
- Ant scoring dynamically
- Defense is lacking
- CJ cooling off
- Whiteside getting scored on
- Referees doing the Blazers no favors
- Kawhi taking over
- Whiteside tough buckets
- Lou Williams wins the game in crunch time
Anfernee Simons came out with a bang in the fourth quarter. His dynamic scoring—a pull-up two at the buzzer, drive to the rim, catch-and-shoot three, and a Dame-esque pull-up three—kept Portland’s four-point cushion intact during the early stages of the period. The Clippers hung around, though, and were always within touching distance.
Stotts’ pick-and-rolls were causing problems for the Clips down the stretch, with Hassan Whiteside being the primary benefactor. One freed up Anfernee, who was fouled as he received the feed from Whiteside. He made the second. But it was Lou Williams who made the big shots for the Clippers, with a fadeaway elbow jumper and crossover pull-up three.
The Blazers trailed by four with half a minute remaining. After a scramble for CJ’s missed jumper with 25 seconds left, Beverley gathered the ball while stepping out of bounds. Rodney Hood pulled up and hit a baseline jumper to pull within two. Kawhi was fouled on the ensuing inbound, and converted both free throws. One missed Dame desperation three later, the game was on ice.
The Trail Blazers return to Portland tomorrow night for a 7 p.m. showdown with the Brooklyn Nets. This can be a great chance to build some much-needed momentum.