Blazers-Clippers Recap: A Tale of Two Halves


Final. 106. 77. 102. 34

What Happened: The Clippers were two different teams tonight.

In the first half, they looked like a team who looking forward to the NBA lottery rather than the NBA playoffs. The defense was awful (Portland shot 51 percent from the field and 50 percent from three) in every facet of the game. Even Robin Lopez got in on the scoring binge — Lopez scored 17 of his 19 points in the opening half — thanks to an unhealthy Blake Griffin who looked as if he wanted no part of the game. It was ugly and demoralizing.

Things changed in the second half, all starting on the defensive end. Due to pure regression, it was seemingly impossible for the Trail Blazers to carry over their shooting from the first to second half, but a large part in why was the Clippers defense. It wasn’t perfect — this team has inconsistencies that seem to not go away — but behind a charge from Matt Barnes and DeAndre Jordan, they held a high-powered Blazers offense to 40 points.

On the other side of the floor, the Clippers offense looked like it’s usual self. The key guys contributed (Griffin, Paul, Redick, Crawford), with Paul closing it out down the stretch.

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  • Lineup Change: Doc Rivers opting to go Jamal Crawford > Matt Barnes in the starting lineup was a surprise in the form of “oh, I didn’t think this would be the player who’d replace Barnes in the starting lineup.” With Barnes out and Crawford in, Rivers resorted to a tight rotation, only playing Barnes, Crawford, Paul, and Jordan Farmar (Reggie Bullock was left out of the rotation). Both players played well, especially Barnes in the 2nd half, dominating defensively, but it’ll be interesting to see if Rivers sticks with this look.

    Player of the Game: It took almost 10 games, but J.J. Redick has finally arrived to the party, and he couldn’t have picked a better time to do so. It’s not ideal for Redick to be a go-to player on a team offensively, but tonight the team followed his lead, whether he was knocking down the open jump shots he’s missed all season or hitting floaters coming off a curl in the fourth quarter. A few points from his career high, it’d be outrageous to expect Redick to score 30 points every game, but his confidence is back and that’s all that really matters right now.

    Cause for concern: Granted Griffin was suffering from some sort of illness, his lack of explosiveness is an odd sight to see. In the past, Griffin killed opponents off the dribble and in the paint. Now he’s been a guy relying solely on his mid-range shot to score the bulk of his points. Because of that, the thought occurred that maybe his back isn’t alright. If you may recall, Griffin suffered a back fracture in last years playoffs and chose to not attend the 2014 FIBA World Cup to rehab. Conditioning could also be an issue, but that just feels unlikely due to Griffin being an athletic specimen. This is something we’ll keep an eye on from here on out.

    Next Game: 11/10 vs. San Antonio