GAMEDAY REPORT: CLIPPERS VS. TRAIL BLAZERS - 4/16/14
Game #82 | April 16, 2014
Moda Center | Portland, OR
PORTLAND - Blake Griffin, Chris Paul and J.J. Redick stayed home. DeAndre Jordan played 83 seconds before checking out in favor of Jared Dudley.
But prior to the Clippers’ regular-season finale, Head Coach Doc Rivers said his team, no matter who was on the floor, would be playing to win. And even after trailing by as many as 22 points in the early stages, Darren Collison’s 3-point play with 3:35 left in the third quarter gave the Clippers their first lead.
They were unable to hold on for yet another comeback from a double-digit deficit, falling to the Portland Trail Blazers, 110-104, at Moda Center Wednesday night.
“I wasn’t real happy the way we played in the first half,” Rivers said. “But then once we got them right, I thought it was terrific. I was really happy with the way we played in the second half and competed.”
But the third-quarter spurt to get back in the game was fittingly done without three of their starters even in the state of Oregon. It epitomized the entire record-setting season for the Clippers, who finished the 2013-14 campaign with a franchise-best 57-25 record.
All-Star LaMarcus Aldridge and former Clipper Mo Williams did not play for Portland (54-28) and the remainder of its starters were limited to less than 15 minutes apiece.
While Tuesday’s final home game for the Clippers, a 12-point win over the Nuggets, may have served as a postseason tune up, Wednesday was more like a personal tune up for Jamal Crawford.
“I thought he got it going, which was nice,” Rivers said of Crawford.
The Sixth Man of the Year candidate played 41 minutes, by far his most since injuring his left calf on Feb. 26. Rivers shuttled Crawford to the bench for brief respites, but was clearly attempting to help Crawford regain a semblance of rhythm that had been missing over the past two games since he returned.
After a slow start, Crawford scored 15 points of his game-high 34 points in the third quarter, making five consecutive field goals at one point, including the 41st 4-point play of his career. He added eight assists and five rebounds and went 10-for-25 from the floor.
“I think the quicker and more aggressive you are, you get the rustiness off,” said Crawford, who had just nine points on Tuesday against the Nuggets. “Yesterday I went 7 or 8 minutes without even taking a shot and you’re not going to get any of the rustiness off that way. The more you shoot the more you start getting your timing back.”
Darren Collison, who started in place of Paul, had 19 points, seven assists and four rebounds. Matt Barnes was the only regular starter to play extended minutes. He finished 19 points and eight rebounds and Hedo Turkoglu scored eight points with five rebounds off the bench.
But following the game talk was far less about the game in Portland and more so about the opening of the Playoffs this weekend. The league announced earlier Wednesday that the Clippers play Game 1 Saturday afternoon at Staples Center at 12:30 p.m. PT against the Golden State Warriors.
“[The Playoffs] are going to be extremely competitive,” Rivers said. “I mean, the West, come on. Dallas is an eight seed, Phoenix didn’t make it. We’ve got Golden State in the first round. Portland’s playing Houston. It’s a hard way to go.
“At the end of the day, I told our guys if you want to be the winner it can’t be easy. It’s not going to be easy so you should just embrace it.”
Jordan did not return to the game after leaving at the 10:37 mark of the first quarter, but the brief appearance preserved his league-best streak of 240 consecutive games… Jordan finished the season as the league’s leading rebounder, averaging 13.6 per game (0.4 ahead of Andre Drummond)… Will Barton had 23 points and 10 rebounds for Portland… Crawford went 3for-10 from 3-point range. He finished the season with 161 3-pointers, extending his franchise record…
- Portland's 54 wins are tied for sixth-most in franchise history and the most since 2008-09 (also 54).
- Portland's five-game winning streak to end the regular season is tied with Memphis for longest in the NBA. Portland recorded five winning streaks of at least five games this year, most since the 1990-91 season (also five). The Trail Blazers won nine of their last 10 games overall this year.
- Four players started all 82 games for the Trail Blazers (Batum, Lillard, Lopez, Matthews) for the first time in team history. Portland is the first NBA team to have four players start 82 games since the L.A. Lakers (Bryant, Fisher, Gasol, World Peace) in 2010-11 (Elias).
- The Trail Blazers used only two different starting lineups this season, the fewest in any season in team history.
- The Trail Blazers finish the season with an 81.5% mark from the free throw line, best in the NBA and a franchise record (80.4%, 2010-11). Portland's 81.5% free throw shooting stands as the 14th-best mark by any team in NBA history.
- Portland's 770 3-pointers made this season are a franchise record and the 14th-most by any team in league history.
- The Trail Blazers led the NBA in total rebounds (3,808) for the second time in team history (1989-90).
- LaMarcus Aldridge is the first Trail Blazer in franchise history to finish among the NBA's top 10 scorers in three straight seasons. Aldridge joins Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Durant and LeBron James as the only players to rank in the Top 10 in scoring each of the last three years.
- LaMarcus Aldridge joins Sidney Wicks (1971-72) as the only Trail Blazers to average at least 23 points and 11 rebounds in a season. He is the only Trail Blazer to finish on the NBA's Top 10 list for scoring and rebounding, and he accomplished both this season.
- The only players with more points (3,257) and assists (988) than Damian Lillard in their first two NBA seasons are Oscar Robertson, Tiny Archibald, Allen Iverson and L.eBron James.
- Damian Lillard is one of seven players to start all 164 games in his first two seasons in the last 35 years (Larry Bird, Buck Williams, Ralph Sampson, Clarence Weatherspoon, Andre Iguodala, O.J. Mayo).
- Robin Lopez set a new franchise record with 326 offensive rebounds this season (325-Chris Dudley, Kermit Washington).
- Nicolas Batum is the second player in NBA history with 600+ rebounds, 400+ assists and 145+ 3-pointers in a season (Antoine Walker, twice).
- With his first 3-pointer tonight, Wesley Matthews became the fifth player in the NBA this season with 200+ 3-pointers.
- Damian Lillard and Wesley Matthews became the third pair of teammates in NBA history with 200+ 3-pointers in a season (Pierce/Walker – Boston, 2001-02; Curry/Thompson – Golden State, 2012-13/2013-14).
- Will Barton set a new career high tonight with 23 points (22, April 7, 2013 vs. Dallas). The game marks his third career 20-point game.
- Portland grabbed a season-high 65 rebounds (60, Dec. 26 vs. LA Clippers) and 24 offensive rebounds tonight (22, March 9 at Houston).
By: Ben Haber | Follow @HaberBen
The Clippers best regular season in franchise history, 2013-14, comes to an end on Wednesday at Portland.
The Clippers (57-24) are the No.3 seed in the Western Conference, but they would finish No.2 with a win over the Trail Blazers and a loss by the Oklahoma City Thunder to the Detroit Pistons.
The Trail Blazers (53-28) are fifth in the West and take on the Rockets in the first round of the Playoffs. Despite Stephen Curry’s 47 points, the Trail Blazers beat the Warriors 119-117 in overtime on Sunday to lock up No. 5. Portland has won four straight contests prior to hosting the Clippers.
The Clippers and Trail Blazers have split the season series so far, each winning on their respective home floors.
THREE THINGS TO WATCH ON PRIME TICKET
- While the Trail Blazers have absolutely nothing to gain or lose, the Clippers are still fighting for the No.2 seed. More importantly, Doc Rivers wants his team to be fully healthy heading into the playoffs. Oklahoma City and Detroit take the court approximately two and a half hours before the Clippers, which provides another interesting dynamic. Do the Clippers go all out for the possibility of home-court advantage in the second round or will they exercise caution?
- The fewest number of points either team has accumulated in their showdowns was the Clippers 112 points on Dec. 26, 2013. The high scores shouldn’t be surprising, as the Clippers lead the NBA with 108.0 per game and the Trail Blazers are third by notching 106.7.
- No individual player gets it done on the glass better than DeAndre Jordan, averaging 13.8 rebounds. No team crashes the boards better than the Trail Blazers, bringing in 46.2 rebounds. The Clippers are No. 14 at rebounding, and need others besides Jordan and Blake Griffin to help keep Portland from getting second chance opportunities. Rebounding will decide numerous playoff games, making Wednesday a nice tune up for the Clippers.
Chris Paul posted three season-highs on Dec. 26, 2013 versus the Trail Blazers: six steals, 44:50 minutes and 16 field goals made… Griffin and LaMarcus Aldridge were the leading scorers for their respective teams in both of the Clippers and Trail Blazers duels… The Clippers average 8.60 steals against the Trail Blazers, but Portland only generates 5.54 swipes… Matt Barnes is on the cusp of providing 10-plus points in his two seasons with Los Angeles, currently netting 9.8 per game… The Clippers are 23-17 on the road. Portland is 30-10 at home…
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Doc Rivers: “I’m just trying to get our guys to be a team. That’s what we have to be. Good teams stay together at the end of the day. And the ones that aren’t, fall apart when the pressure comes. All we’ve talked about all year is being a one. The oneness, we’ve talked about that a lot.”
LAC: Danny Granger (hamstring) is out, but Doc Rivers said he expects Granger to practice Thursday or Friday. J.J. Redick (rest) and Griffin (rest) will not play.
POR: According to the Oregonian, LaMarcus Aldridge and Mo Williams may rest for the playoffs.
REGULAR SEASON HISTORY
All Time: 69-138 (Home: 49-54, Road: 18-84)
Current Overall Streak: Won 1
Road Streak: Lost 2
Last Win: Nov. 8, 2012 (103-90)
Last Loss: Dec. 26, 2013 (112-116)
Largest Margin of Victory:
Road: 17 (112-95), Mar. 16, 1976
Largest Margin of Defeat:
Road: 48 (73-121), Dec. 14, 1994
Dec. 26, 2013 at Moda Center: Trail Blazers 116, Clippers 112 (OT)
Feb. 12, 2014 at Staples Center: Clippers 125, Trail Blazers 117
Apr. 16, 2014 at Moda Center:
LAST TIME OUT
Pts: Griffin 24