Game #55 | February 12, 2014
Staples Center | Los Angeles, CA

  • 117

  • 122

- TOP PERFORMERS -


POINTS
REBOUNDS ASSISTS STEALS BLOCKS
36 10 12 3 1
COMPLETE GAME INFORMATION | GAME NOTES
 

Logo

30

31

34

22

117

Logo

31

30

31

30

122


RECAP

LOS ANGELES – The Clippers and Trail Blazers entered Wednesday night’s game as the two highest scoring teams in the NBA.

But this was absurd.

They combined for 239 points, each shot better than 51 percent and with a near weeklong break looming for All-Star Weekend, the Clippers pulled out a thrilling, 122-117, victory Wednesday night at Staples Center.

The two teams head to the break in a virtual tie in the Western Conference standings and everything about their second matchup of the season seemed like it. There were 40 lead changes and 18 ties and for the second time this season the Clippers (37-18) and Blazers (36-17) came down to the final minute.

“It was just a good win. It was frustrating, probably for both coaches,” Clippers head coach Doc Rivers said. “Every time we thought we could get away from them, they would take the lead.”

With the Clippers ahead by one and 1:48 to go, Chris Paul, who finished with 20 points, 12 assists and three steals, missed two free throws, but 21 seconds later he ripped the ball away from fellow All-Star Damian Lillard. DeAndre Jordan recovered it and passed it ahead to Matt Barnes, who quickly lobbed the ball back to Jordan for an alley-oop.

The play gave the Clippers a 120-117 lead, an advantage that was unsafe in Portland nearly two months ago when the Blazers won 116-112 in overtime. In that game Nicolas Batum drilled a game-tying 3-pointer in the waning seconds of regulation. Batum a two chances to tie the game, as did Lillard, inside of one minute remaining on Wednesday.  

But the Blazers, and Batum, had another chance with 27.4 seconds to go. Batum inbounded the ball in front of the Clippers’ bench, and eventually got it back, but missed a contested 3-pointer over Jamal Crawford.

“I just wanted to get close enough,” Crawford said of Batum’s tying 3-point attempt. “He’s known to hit big shots like that. He hit a big one like that [against us] in Portland. So, I wanted to get close enough to not give him any air space and not foul.

“It was a good stop for all of us. He saw a wall behind us, so he kind of had to settle for that shot.”

Crawford, who had 25 points, was fouled on the ensuing possession and iced the game with a pair of free throws.

The difference in the game was the Clippers’ execution down the stretch. Paul hit a runner, Blake Griffin converted at the rim on a pick-and-roll with Paul, and Jordan got the breakaway slam.

“I saw someone right in front of me and thought, they’ll probably wrap me up,” Jordan said of his dunk that put the Clippers up three. “So, I saw Matt and I’m like, ‘Aww man, I’m going to have to go up really high to get this one.”

They also forced seven consecutive misses by the Blazers to close the game.

“We got stops,” Griffin said. “Our defense is what does it for us.”

Griffin scored 36 points with 10 rebounds for his ninth game of the year with at least 30 points and 10 rebounds. He outdueled LaMarcus Aldridge, who scored 25 points with three boards.

They both had it going early. Aldridge scored 13 points on 6-of-7 shooting in the opening period. Griffin countered with a dozen of his own. The Clippers, however, held Aldridge to 4-for-11 from the field the rest of the game, including forcing a key miss from 17 feet with 3:48 to go. 

“This is the NBA, you’re not going to completely stop somebody from scoring,” said Jordan, who had 14 points and spent most of the night checking Aldridge. “I think they’re leading the league in scoring, so we did our best job tonight and we really got stops when it counted.”

NOTES

The Clippers played for the fourth straight game without shooting guard J.J. Redick, who sat out with a sore right hip. Willie Green also missed the game with a sore hip… Jordan’s streak of 31 straight games with at least 10 rebounds came to end. The league’s top rebounder finished with six… Portland went 13-for-31 (41.9 percent) from 3-point range. It is only the second time in eight occurrences that they have lost while making at least 13 3-pointers this season… The Clippers are 4-0 this season at home against Portland, Oklahoma City, San Antonio and Houston… Paul scored his 11,000th career point…  

PAUL STILL HEALING

Wednesday marked Paul’s second game back from a separated right shoulder that cost him 18 games. He said he’s not completely healthy, but he looked more like himself.

“As long as I’m not hindering my team or my teammates, I feel like I can be effective out there,” Paul said. “But I’m going to get there I can tell you that much.”

QUOTES

CLIPPERS HEAD COACH DOC RIVERS


RE: Play of Blake Griffin


“Blake [Griffin]‟s been sensational. Blake is his own breed. There‟s nothing like him, really, that I know of and he just does so many things. He ran a pick-and-roll tonight, he ran on transition, he guarded guys in the post, he was terrific.”

CLIPPERS FORWARD BLAKE GRIFFIN

RE: LaMarcus Aldridge’s performance in tonight’s game


“LaMarcus [Aldridge] is one of the best players in the NBA, I mean, he‟s got almost everything. So he‟s a tough cover, tough matchup. I thought DJ [DeAndre Jordan] did a great job. You know, it was really our team defense but I was proud of the way we fought down the stretch and the way we kept ourselves in.”

CLIPPERS FORWARD BLAKE GRIFFIN


RE: Clippers offense towards end of game


“I think it makes us tough to defend. When you got CP [Chris Paul] and Jamal [Crawford] hitting shots all game long, it‟s tough to defend. You can‟t just key in on one guy so kind of my job [is] to get in the

middle and give CP an outlet, somewhere he can pass and then you know, either make a play or give it to Jamal and let him make a play. So we got a lot different options which is nice.”

CLIPPERS GUARD CHRIS PAUL


RE: Back and forth nature of the game


“Yeah, I told them in the time out—I said „Fellas, we need to get a score and a stop.‟ It was going back and forth—we‟re down one, we‟re up one, we‟re down one. I told Blake [Griffin] if we get a score and a stop, it changes the whole game. It‟s kind of frustrating because it‟s me that kept making mistakes on defense and they got shots, but all-in-all it was a good win for us.”

CLIPPERS GUARD CHRIS PAUL


RE: Team’s focus


“At the end of the day, your job is to win the game. It‟s a combination of both. We know they‟re a fast paced team, a lot of scoring. They made a lot of tough shots tonight. Damian Lillard hit some off balance threes, LaMarcus [Aldridge]—that‟s why both of them are All-Stars. When we needed to get the stops we needed, we did.”

CLIPPERS GUARD CHRIS PAUL


RE: Midseason assessment


“I‟m happy. I‟m in a great place as far as our team going into the break-- One of the best feelings I‟ve had about a team since I‟ve been in the league. Just strictly because of defense. I think a lot of people see that [we] score 117 points a night, and are like, „What is he talking about?‟, but the mindset is there, and it‟s a work in progress, and hopefully we peak at the right time. For me, we‟re in a good place right now.”

CLIPPERS GUARD JAMAL CRAWFORD


RE: Matchup vs. Trail Blazers


“It‟s always fun playing against them. We‟ve played them on a back-to-back you know after Christmas and they had the same opportunity tonight. It‟s still a fun game, you wouldn‟t know it, it had that kind of intensity. So you feel like if you can get one or two stops in a row, you win a game and we are finally able to do that.”

CLIPPERS GUARD JAMAL CRAWFORD


RE: Closing tonight’s game strong
“We definitely feel like we can close games out with our defense. It‟s funny because Doc [Rivers] always says, let‟s go on a 10-0 lead, but he said that starts with defense. You can‟t go on a 10-0 run unless you‟re getting stops. Most people just think its offense and going in and Doc‟s been great with that. You know, he‟s preached that consistently. They‟re a high powered offense and we feel like we are too but if we can get some stops, we can even be better.”

CLIPPERS GUARD DARREN COLLISON


RE: Overall thoughts on tonight’s game


“We knew this wasn‟t going to be easy. Portland‟s a very good team. That‟s a team that we‟re going to see in the playoffs eventually. It was a playoff atmosphere [type of] game. Whenever you play against a team like that, every possession counts and we had to some kind of offensive lift. When they‟re scoring, you just have to make sure you‟re focused on the other end, and you try to get stops on each possession.”

CLIPPERS GUARD DARREN COLLISON


RE: Coaching strategy


“Well he [Doc Rivers] makes sure that we‟re constantly looking at whatever plays that he‟s drawing up. He doesn‟t care about the score, he just wants us to execute. That‟s one thing about Doc that he‟s been doing all season long, is not getting caught up in whatever‟s going on, on the court, or what the score is. He‟s just focusing on the play.”

CLIPPERS FORWARD JARED DUDLEY


RE: Overall thoughts on tonight’s game


“It‟s going seeing a team that‟s coming off the back, especially one that‟s beaten us already. They‟ve played really well this year. They don‟t really have too many weaknesses. I just think that right now, we‟re gelling at the right point. Now we know we have 27 games left and we know the urgency.”

CLIPPERS FORWARD JARED DUDLEY


RE: Trail Blazers’ wing players


“They‟re always good. They can score multiple different ways; from the post, from threes, pick-and-rolls. They put a lot of pressure on you. They‟ve expanded their roles; they can knock down threes consistently. You can see that‟s going to be a tough team in the playoffs.”

CLIPPERS CENTER DEANDRE JORDAN


RE: Closing out games


“You‟ve just got to be able to finish games. I feel like us finishing games is principal. We‟ve got a lot of people scoring at any point in time, but defensively, that‟s where we‟ve got to, in the clutch, we‟ve got to come down and get stops like we did tonight.”

 

VIDEO

CROWN ROYAL SHOT OF THE GAME

PREVIEW

By: Eric Patten | Follow @EricPatten


The final game before the All-Star break for the Clippers could hold meaning months from now. Wednesday night at Staples Center is the first of four-straight games against three of the Western Conference’s top teams and arguably one of its hottest. The stretch begins with the Portland Trail Blazers (36-16), who arrived in Los Angeles in the early morning hours after a 98-95 loss to Oklahoma City on Tuesday. They are 5-7 in their last 12 games, including five losses on the road.

For the Clippers (36-18), it’s a chance to move within percentage points of Portland for the No. 3 seed heading into All-Star Weekend and even the season series with the Blazers. After the break, they play a home game against the Spurs before road games against the Grizzlies and Thunder. While it’s only mid-February, the standings could begin to take shape over the next couple of weeks.

NOTEWORTHY MATCHUP

Photo Photo

Chris Paul vs. Damian Lillard

It’s tough to call this a “matchup” considering Lillard won’t guard Paul. The high-scoring first-time All-Star has not in the past. Instead, the Trail Blazers have elected to use Nicolas Batum, Wesley Matthews and others against the Clippers’ superstar. Paul, in his second game back, will guard Lillard, however, and in the past it has been relatively one-sided, including Paul outscoring Lillard, 34-14, on Dec. 26 and holding Lillard to 4-for-12 shooting.

Paul

G

PPG

RPG

APG

SPG

FG%

3P%

FT%

2013-14

35

19.2

4.6

11.1

2.5

.465

.356

.866

vs. POR

27

14.6

4.1

9.0

2.6

.449

.298

.864

vs. Lillard

3

21.0

2.7

11.0

4.0

.528

.333

.833

 

Lillard

G

PPG

RPG

APG

SPG

FG%

3P%

FT%

2013-14

52

20.7

3.7

5.8

0.7

.420

.401

.883

vs. LAC

5

15.6

2.4

4.6

1.2

.391

.400

.800

vs. Paul

3

14.0

3.3

5.3

1.0

.378

.375

.667


THINGS TO WATCH FOR ON PRIME TICKET

- Even the return of rookie C.J. McCollum, who did not play in the first meeting against the Clippers due to a broken foot, has not done much to improve Portland’s bench. They play the fewest minutes (13.5) and score the fewest points (22.8) in the league among reserve units. It’s a carryover from a year ago when the Blazers also owned the least used bench in the NBA. The Clippers average 31.2 points per game off the bench, a number that is drastically affected by Jamal Crawford’s shift to the starting lineup with J.J. Redick nursing a sore right hip. Crawford scores 17.9 points off the bench (18.4 overall on the season), which is good for 57 percent of the Clippers’ reserve points.

- Paul is 17 points away from scoring 11,000 for his career, considering the way he’s traditionally played in his second game back from injury, that milestone should easily fall against the Blazers. More importantly, though, will be watching how Paul looks in his second game after missing 18 with a separated shoulder. Will he be more comfortable making contact in close quarters? Will his timing be improved? Will he tug at the protective sleeve under his jersey?

- According to Synergy Sports, the Blazers are one of the worst teams in the league in terms of pick-and-roll defense. They allow 0.835 points per possession against pick-and-roll ball handlers (26th in the NBA) and are only slightly better against the roll man (17th in the league in points per possession). The Clippers, according to Synergy, score 22 percent of their points out of pick-and-roll offense, including ranking first in points scored by the pick-and-roll ball-handler. Predominantly that means Paul or Crawford.

NOTES

Griffin is seeking to score 25 points or more in eight consecutive games, which would tie Elton Brand for the most in Los Angeles Clippers history… LaMarcus Aldridge has scored double figures in each of Portland’s first 52 games. He’s the only Trail Blazers player to do so… The Clippers have won three games in a row against Portland at Staples Center… A Portland win would ensure they win the season series over the Clippers. L.A. has not dropped a season series against the Blazers since 2010-11… Portland has the eighth youngest roster in the league (25.4 years old is the average age)… Portland is shooting 38.1 percent from 3-point range as a team (fourth in the league). The Clippers are the No. 1 3-point defense… The Clippers are 22-4 at home…

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

Blake Griffin: “They’re a tough team. Obviously, LaMarcus is playing at a high level, Damian Lillard and all the other guys are doing their part. It’s going to be a good challenge for us, especially heading into the break. We have to stay focused and take care of business.”

Doc Rivers: “They’re good. We’re good. It’s that simple. Two good teams playing and two good teams that want to play, so that’s always nice I enjoy those games.”

INJURY UPDATE

LAC: J.J. Redick (hip) will miss his fourth straight game, according to Rivers.

POR: Mo Williams (personal) was granted an indefinite leave by the Blazers on Feb. 7 and has missed the past three games. Joel Freeland (knee) went down in the first quarter against the Thunder and did not return.

REGULAR SEASON SERIES HISTORY

All-Time: 66-138 (Home: 48-54, Road 18-84)
2013-14: 0-1
Current Overall Streak: Lost 1

Home Streak: Won 3
Last Win: Apr. 16, 2013 (93-77)
Last Loss: Oct. 27, 2010 (88-98)

Largest Margin of Victory:
Home: 20 (3) (91-71), Mar. 7, 2004
Largest Margin of Defeat:
Home: 27 (70-97), Apr. 10, 1999

SEASON SERIES

Dec. 26, 2013 at Moda Center: Trail Blazers 116, Clippers 112 (OT)
Feb. 12, 2014 at Staples Center
Apr. 16, 2014 at Moda Center

 

LAST TIME OUT


RECAP | BOX SCORE

Clippers Leaders:
Pts: Griffin 26
Reb: Jordan 20
Ast: Paul 8

Last Time Out



123


78


PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS

Blazers Leaders:
Pts: Batum 18
Reb: Lopez 14
Ast: Lillard 7

BOX SCORE »



95



98