Quick Recap: Clippers blow lead, fall to Trail Blazers in OT


With 55 seconds left in the fourth quarter, the Clippers looked well on their way to their fourth straight victory and eighth win out of eleven games without power forward Blake Griffin as they held a five-point lead over the Portland Trail Blazers with 55 seconds left in the fourth quarter.

Then Nicolas Batum happened.

A three to tie the game with 25 seconds left in the fourth.

(DeAndre Jordan also happened as the center failed to put up a shot attempt with under one second left on the shot clock in the fourth, a play that caused Chris Paul to nearly blow a gasket on national television, and rightfully so).

A block to prevent J.J. Redick from tying the game with less than a minute left in overtime.

Eight points in the final six minutes of the game, including a dagger three with 21 seconds left in overtime.

To put it simply, the Clippers squandered an opportunity to gain ground on the number three seed in the West who so happens to be the Portland Trail Blazers.

“To lose a game like that, yeah it hurts,” said shooting guard J.J. Redick who finished the game with 26 points on 27 shots.

“We made a lot of mistakes down the stretch, that being one of them obviously,” Clippers head coach Doc Rivers said when alluding to Jordan’s late-game gaffe.

Rivers didn’t stop there.

“I told our staff before the game, this could not be an offensive game tonight for us. With having Blake out and having Jamal out we had to make this a mud slinging, low-scoring game and we accomplished it and then the last two or three possessions we stopped defending and give up two threes. Those can’t happen.”

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  • As Rivers stated, the Clippers did a solid job of defending the league’s 10th best offense. From the start of the game up until the 1:00 mark in the fourth quarter, the Clippers forced the Trail Blazers into shooting 37 percent from the field, with most struggles coming from Damian Lillard who shot 0-of-11 from the field in that time span.

    After the 1:00 mark in the fourth? Portland outscored Los Angeles 14-6, shooting 50 percent from the field.

    Without Matt Barnes and Jamal Crawford, the Clippers leaned on the starters to carry the team against one of the leagues best — Chris Paul and J.J. Redick surely lived up to the task. While Redick contributed 26 points, Paul doubled as offensive savant and defensive mastermind, scoring 36 points alongside 12 assists while being the driving force behind Damian Lillard‘s off night, holding the All-Star point guard to five points in 43 minutes.

    Outside of those two? No one else scored double digits (Jordan collected a game-high 19 rebounds). While scoring points isn’t an exact indicator of how well or poorly a supporting cast can play, tonight was one of those games where the Clippers lack of depth shone bright. Not only were Paul and Redick forced to play 40 minutes, but the likes of Austin Rivers and Hedo Turkoglu saw a hike in minutes as both played 26+ minutes. If it hasn’t been said before, the Clippers’ chances of making the NBA Finals will rely on their bench and so far, the bench has shown very little reasons to be good — it’s the horse that’s been beaten to death for almost two years straight due to roster mismanagement by team president Doc Rivers.

    Outside of Batum’s late-game heroics — Batum finished with 20 points — and Lillard’s uncommon offensive struggles (to make up for his shooting issues, Lillard grabbed a team-high 18 rebounds), the Trail Blazers were led by LaMarcus Aldridge‘s 29 points and 9 rebounds.

    With a loss to the Trail Blazers, the Clippers now hold 2-1 lead in the season series. In the context of the Western Conference standings, the Clippers fall to fifth in the West, half a game up on the Dallas Mavericks and one game behind the James Harden-led Houston Rockets.

    Next Up

    The West-best Golden State Warriors on Sunday — if things go well, we could see Blake Griffin return to the starting lineup after missing a month-plus of action behind an elbow infection that required surgery.

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