The Blazers have their first real test after becoming “healthy” and adding Carmelo Anthony. The team is playing a lot better with the addition of Melo. Damian Lillard doesn’t look so stressed and CJ McCollum has been playing a lot freer and not pressing as much. Hassan Whiteside hasn’t needed to be much of an option scoring and Rodney Hood has become the best three point shooter in all of the league.
The Clippers started out hot. George, Leonard, and Patrick Beverley all hit three pointers as the Clippers jumped out a double digit lead.
Damian Lillard decided he was going to put the team on his back and knock down a couple of threes. CJ decided he was not going to allow Dame to have all the fun and he knocked down some jumpers too. After a hard foul on Melo by Montrezl Harrell, the Blazers took a lead and held that lead going into the second quarter.
Carmelo Anthony went vintage Melo to start the second, a few post-ups and quick drives. He added a quick five points on some really sweet movies. Chris Webber compared him to Adrian Dantley and that is a very apt comparison. It’s probably the smartest thing he’s said all night… er…. year?
My wife then asked who Dantley was — she’s got some punishment Youtube to watch later.
The starters are playing really well to start this game. The bench has more fouls (5) than points (2) in the first 15 minutes of this game. Kent Bazemore has been a pest on defense and Skal Labissiere is rebounding nicely. As I finish typing that Bazemore and Anfernee Simons get into a shooting contest with Lou Williams.
That did not go well and the Blazers trailed going into the half 62-59. The Blazers were incredibly balanced in that half. Dame and CJ were each in double digits, Melo and Whiteside had 9 each, and Simons had seven points off the bench.
Paul George opened up the third quarter on a personal 7-0 run and pushed the Clippers lead up to 10. CJ McCollum hit a three and that’s all the Blazers got for a bit as the Clips pushed the lead up to 16. Dame and Whiteside were able to chip the lead down to five points, but the Clippers shot it back up to 13 to end the quarter.
Portland stopped moving the ball in the third quarter and played a lot of ISO at the top of the circle. The Blazers also allowed the Clippers to shoot 60% from three in the quarter. Harrell also took over. The Blazers tried Whiteside, Skal, and Anthony Tolliver on him in the quarter and nothing worked.
Doc Rivers continued to run the ball through Harrell to start the third quarter. The Clippers have pushed the lead to 20. Carmelo Anthony has missed his last six shots, Dame is really forcing things and CJ has disappeared again. This is starting to look like the Blazers from the first 15 games of the season.
With the Blazers down 22, Stotts threw in the towel bringing in Mario Hezonja and Nassir Little.
Blazers held Kawhi Leonard in check, but Paul George and Harrell both went off. The Blazers had zero answers for either man all night. The NBA as a whole have had not had answers for either man this year.
CJ led the Blazers with 20, Whiteside had 18, Dame 16, and Carmelo with 9. Simons has 11 off the bench.
97 was the Blazers lowest point total of the season.
Blazers return home tomorrow to take on the Kings. Tip is a little after 7:00 PM.