Blazers End Up On The Wrong End Of A 'Shellacking' In Los Angeles

by Casey Holdahl
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LOS ANGELES -- The Portland Trail Blazers started their 2021-22 regular season road schedule with a lopsided 116-86 loss to the LA Clippers in front of a crowd of 15,672 Monday night at STAPLES Center.

“It was embarrassing, it was really embarrassing,” said Trail Blazers head coach Chauncey Billups. “Just the effort, I didn’t think that we started the game off with the right mindset. We talked in the locker room about the Clippers, they hadn’t won a game yet, two tough losses, they were desperate to get a win, you’re at home. We tried to defend against that but from the very first play of the game -- we turned the ball over, we couldn’t get the ball where we needed to go, their pressure really hurt us. It just continued to snowball the rest of the way.”

The Trail Blazers are now 1-2 after a week of play and have lost seven-straight to the Clippers, a team they’ll face again later in the week.

“They whooped our ass,” said CJ McCollum. “A shellacking.”

Coming off an impressive victory versus the Suns Saturday night at Moda Center, the hope was that the Trail Blazers would be able to turn in something close to a repeat performance Monday night in Los Angeles versus a Clipper team that started the season with two losses.

Instead, after both teams spend the early stages of the game missing open three-pointers, the Trail Blazers found themselves down 29-15 late in the first quarter thanks to a 16-1 Clipper run. They’d go into the second quarter trailing by 14, a deficit they’d take 12 minutes later into the halftime intermission.

“They were the aggressors,” said CJ McCollum. “In this sport, and just like in life, you’ve got to hit first. I think they hit first tonight and we tried to respond but it was too late.”

The first half would actually be the best part of the game for Portland, as they were outscored 31-17 in the third to turn what at least had the appearance of a competitive affair into a blowout. Portland turned the ball over with alarming frequency -- 30 times to be exact -- failed to convert on the vast majority of their three-pointers -- the made just eight of 37 attempts -- and scored just eight points in transition.

“We played like we were tired today, but there was no reason to be tired,” said Billups. “We’re in striking distance at halftime. We turned it over a ton, we just weren’t playing very well. Talked about it at the half, showed a few clips at the half and we just didn’t respond. We never competed like we wanted to win the basketball game, and that’s disappointing.”

Between Portland’s extreme ineffectiveness on offense and general lack of effort on either end, the Clippers would run the Trail Blazers out of the building, leading by as many as 35 in the fourth before both coaches turned the remainder of the evening over to the end of their respective benches.

CJ McCollum was the only Blazer who managed to comport himself well Monday night, going 7-of-16 from the field and 4-of-11 from three for 20 points to go with four rebounds, four assists, two steals and a block in 32 minutes. Damian Lillard continued his early-season shooting woes, going just 4-of-15 from the field and 0-of-8 from three to finish with 12 points, three assists and three rebounds in 28 minutes.

Anfernee Simons contributed 12 points, albeit on 5-of-13 shooting. Nassir Little, who started in place of Norman Powell (left knee) went 4-of-7 from the field and 2-of-4 from three for 10 points to go with four rebounds, two steals and two blocks in just under 32 minutes.

Five Clippers finished in double figures led by 23 points on 8-of-10 shooting from Luke Kennard. Paul George added 16 points and logged a career-best in steals with eight.

After an abysmal night in SoCal, the Trail Blazers return home to host their next two games starting with a tilt versus the Memphis Grizzlies Wednesday night at Moda Center.

“It’s an adjustment for everybody,” said McCollum. “New system, new coaches, new personnel. We’ve got 79 games left, hopefully we figure it out sooner than later so there’s not games like tonight but good things take time. It’s going to take us some time but we’ve got to speed up that learning curve and we’ve got to speed it up fast because we’ve got some tough opponents coming to town.”

Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.


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