The LA Clippers took on the Portland Trailblazers on February 12th at the Staples Center in what had to be one of the most exciting games of the year. Portland came in as the highest scoring team in the league vs. the Clippers, who have caught up to the Blazers in the standings. LA outlasted the visitors 122-117 and were led by Blake Griffin with 36 points and 10 rebounds. Chris Paul, playing in his second game back, scored 20 points and had 12 assists and Jamal Crawford added 25 points. DeAndre Jordon played a big role and hit all four of his free throws later in the game to help with the win. It didn’t hurt that the Clippers shot 58% from the field for the game in this wide open, highlight reel game. It was close until the last minute when Portland seemed to get a bit desperate with low percentage shots.
All Star LaMarcus Aldridge let the Blazers with 25 points as they were very well balanced with six players in double figures. Aldridge surprisingly only had 2 rebounds but is still maybe the third best player in the league this year behind Lebron James and Kevin Durrant. Aldridge came off of a 5-17 shooting night vs. the Thunder the night before and was on fire in the first quarter and still was very effective. Damian Lillard, the rookie of the year last year and all star this year, had 21 points but had 6 key turnovers and 5 fouls which put him on the bench more than usual. He is still having a great year and will participate in 5 different competitions during All Star weekend (3 point shooting, skills competition, slam dunk contest, rookie-sophomore game and the all star game). Rookie CJ McCollum had 11 points in 14 minutes hitting three out of four 3 pointers. Portland has been struggling a bit lately including losing the night before to Oklahoma City at home after starting out the season on fire. They live and die by the outside shot and haven’t been as hot lately including Wesley Matthews who has been shooting poorly lately. They are a difficult team to play against and guard but if you keep it close and don’t panic like the Clippers did, you will stay in the game and have the opportunity to win.There were 40 lead changes and 18 times the game was tied in this back and forth thriller.
Up next is the All Star break before Los Angeles starts the home stretch vs. the always tough San Antonio Spurs on February 18th. JJ Reddick is still sidelined with a hip injury but hopes to return soon. Coach Doc Rivers knew it would be a tough game but had his team stay persistent vs the streaky Blazers, who are dangerous but vulnerable. More at www.clippers.com