The Portland Trail Blazers defeated the Los Angeles Clippers, 131-127.
Make that two quality wins in a row. Following their defeat of the Toronto Raptors, the Portland Trail Blazers welcomed the Los Angeles Clippers to the Moda Center and beat them also. The Blazers performance and effort was streaky throughout, but it’s hard to argue with the result. The final score: 131-127.
The Blazers improve to 17-13, while the Clippers drop to 17-13.
Like the previous three games, the Blazers got off to a hot start. In fact, they scored 37 points before the first quarter was over. Once again, it was up to the bench to maintain the lead. They were not as good as they were against Toronto, but they were better than they had been against the Houston Rockets or Memphis Grizzlies. That’s a big distinction.
They had allowed a 15-point lead become an eight point lead. And then in the second, the whole team felt a little bogged down and shots dried up. Portland went into the half down by two, 58-60.
And the story of the game was written by Damian Lillard in the third quarter. Here, he nailed several of his six three pointers and led the Blazers to a 42-point quarter – their best offensive period of the season. Lillard ended the game with 39 points, six assists, and three rebounds.
The reserves kept up the pressure in the third and halfway through the fourth. Their ability to hold water in the final period allowed the Blazers to rest Lillard until the Clippers finally put hot-hand Tobias Harris in.
Still, it should be noted that all of the bench unit ended with negative plus-minuses. While they are finally getting back into form, they still weren’t spectacular by any means.
The Clippers never went away, and they brought the game to within four in the final minutes. But Lillard and CJ McCollum‘s shot-making abilities helped the Blazers go home with the W.
McCollum ended with 27 points, three assists, and three rebounds. Jusuf Nurkic had 20 points, seven assists, and three boards.
Maurice Harkless played his best game of the year, looking aggressive on both offense and defense. He finished with a season-high 13 points, along with four rebounds, one assist, one steal, and one block.
The Blazers stayed in the driver’s seat fairly easily throughout this game. Even when they let go of the lead in the second, a high-powered third got them right back in control. Last time these teams played, Portland got out to an early lead at half but gave up a 38-point third quarter themselves. This time, they returned the favor.
Watch to see if the bench can continue growing consistent against the Memphis Grizzlies on December 19 at 7:00 P.S.T.