The Los Angeles Clippers (34-18) got their second win in a row last night against the Portland Trail Blazers (30-20) 133-116 at Staples Center. The Clippers came out on fire in the first quarter, making their first 9 shots in a row. The frame turned out to be one of their best in franchise history as they totaled up a whopping 47 points. Paul George led the way as he scored 22 points in the stanza. The Clippers did a terrific job defensively on the Blazers’ best player Damian Lillard. They held him to just 11 points for the game.
The return of defensive stalwart Patrick Beverley helped a great deal in that regard. Despite Lillard having an off night, two other Blazers in CJ McCollum and Norman Powell went off for 24 and 32 points respectively. Even though the Clippers were able to build a pretty hefty lead of 26 points, those 2 led a charge for their team to cut it all the way down to just 2 in the second half. However, on the strength of Paul George’s 36 points, Kawhi Leonard‘s 29, and Reggie Jackson‘s 23 off the bench, they were unable to get over the hump, and ultimately suffered defeat to LAC.
STAR OF THE GAME
Paul George and his 36 points, 3 rebounds, 5 assists, a steal, and a block. PG13 led the way for the Clippers in their 47 point 1st quarter by scoring 22 points in the frame. When this guy gets it going it is difficult to turn him off. He was feeling it last night as he was 11 for 18 from the field and 6 of 9 from 3. He had been struggling a bit lately, but he definitely broke out of it last night. This is the Paul George that we need to see every night. When he plays like this there are few players in the entire league that are better than him.
He may have been in some pain due to some lingering foot injury. But, for the moment, he seems to have that behind him. If we can get games like this from him for the remainder of the season, he should get some MVP consideration. With a clear mind and and a clean bill of health, there is a good chance we will.
How the Clippers play with leads. The Clippers had one of their best quarters in franchise history and on the strength of that they were able to build a 26 point lead. Despite this they still almost blew it. They let that hefty lead shrink away all the way down to 2. That should not have happened. Damian Lillard was having an off night. But with all the defensive focus being on him, other Blazers were able to explode. It was good to see Rondo out there being the floor general he is. But even with him coming into his own with orchestrating the offense, the Clippers went on a dry spell that allowed Portland to get back into the game and make it dangerously close.
This is a potential playoff matchup (if they started today it would be), so the Clippers do not want to be giving this team any hope of coming back against them if they were to fall down big to them again. Getting the game that close with Lillard struggling may have been a small victory unto itself for them.
Reggie Jackson and his 23 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, a steal, and a block off the bench. With the departure of Lou Williams and the return of Patrick Beverley, Reggie has been moved from being the starting point guard, and into being the team’s new 6th man. With the green light, it looks like he is poised to thrive in that role. He was able to outscore the entire Blazers bench by himself, as the entire reserve unit for Portland only put up 21 points between all of them total.
It was him in the second half that helped stave off Portland’s comeback bid as for the game he was 4 out of 6 from 3, and 8 out of 12 from the field overall. Reggie has seemed to have found confidence after his successful prolonged stint as a starter in place of the perennially injured Pat Bev. Everyone in Clippers nation is going to miss Sweet Lou, but if Reggie can continue to contribute like this as a reserve, we will be saying “Sweet who”? .
Vs. Phoenix Suns, Thursday April 8th at 7:00pm Pacific
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