Portland Trail Blazers
Los Angeles Clippers
MVP: Nicolas Batum hasn’t had the best season. The seven-year veteran is shooting under 40 percent from the field and under 30 percent from three for the first time in his career. Batum’s points, rebounds, and assists are all down from a year ago. But the Trail Blazers don’t win without Batum’s all-around performance tonight: 20 points, 8 rebounds, 7 assists, 2 blocks, 4 threes. Batum’s perimeter defense helped hide Portland’s point guard, his threes forced overtime and iced the game, while his block of J.J. Redick erased the Clippers’ last chance to take back their blown opportunity.
That was … stunning: It’s going to be a bit before the Clippers or their fans forget this one. The Clippers get more than their share of schadenfreude too, so even when they get over it, a lot of folks will be there to remind them. The image of Chris Paul pleading with DeAndre Jordan to clean up his miss and win the game to save a game the Clippers led by ten with under three minutes left will be used to describe a part of this team’s story this season. It’s a shame, because Paul scored 36 points in a losing effort – the most he’s ever scored in a Clippers loss.
X factor: Damian Lillard was going to be an X Factor for the wrong reasons. Lillard was certifiably brutal offensively: no made field goals before overtime, 1-for-13 from the field for the game, five points, four assists, and five turnovers. Paul put a clown suit on Lillard for stretches of this matchup. But Lillard didn’t tap out either. In fact, Lillard had a career-high 18 rebounds, in a game that saw Portland outrebound the Clippers by ten. The last time a guard had that many rebounds was in November 2007, when Jason Kidd grabbed 19 for the New Jersey Nets against the Orlando Magic – back when Lillard was in high school.
— Law Murray
Tweets Of The Game
Chris Paul's reaction to DeAndre Jordan not shooting the ball https://t.co/l7owq9SvZc
— gifdsports (@gifdsports) March 5, 2015
Austin Rivers on play at end of regulation: "the whole stadium thought the game was over …DJ's 1 of the most mentally sharp guys out there
— Rahshaun Haylock (@RHaylock) March 5, 2015
Hedo Turkoglu's played 36 minutes tonight. Hasn't played more than 22 in a game this year.
— Rowan Kavner (@RowanKavner) March 5, 2015
Check Your Messages
The Little Things
With just under two minutes to go, and with the Clippers up six, Chris Paul hesitantly dribbled the ball up the court. DeAndre Jordan waited on the bench after being pulled during a deck-a-DJ stint. Doc Rivers could have called a timeout, gotten D.J. back into the game (since teams cannot intentionally foul beyond the two-minute mark of the fourth quarter) and set up a play.
Instead, he decided not to relinquish one of his three remaining TOs and watched CP3 dribble uncomfortably into a turnover. The new trend we keep hearing about over the past two weeks is how phenomenal of a screen-setter Jordan has become. And it’s true. Paul loves to use those picks to get switches and capitalize on mismatches late in games.
Maybe if Doc calls a timeout and puts D.J. in the game, Paul is actually able to do that. Maybe if D.J. is in the game, his point guard doesn’t turn the ball over. Maybe if D.J. is in the game, Nicolas Batum doesn’t hit a pull-up three on the ensuing possession to cut the Clippers’ lead in half.
Rivers has done an admirable job as a coach this year, putting a flawed roster in positions to win games. Wednesday, it was the failure to capitalize on one seemingly small decision which could have cost his team a victory.
– Fred Katz
There were a lot of things do like about this one: the team’s defense and hustle, led by Davis; the locking down of Lillard, Rivers getting some rebounds from the guard… Oh, wait, I wrote that when the Clippers were up ten and coasting with two minutes to go.
There were a few things not to like about this one: DJ mistaking the shot clock for game buzzer; Paul’s ever more worrying end of game time-management/turnover routine; the general effects of fatigue; and most of all, Doc taking Jordan out with 38 seconds of hacking to go. Jordan, Paul and Davis combined for 2 of 10 free throws over two minutes, during which time the Blazers trimmed precisely no points off the Clippers lead and made no field goals. The lessons that must be learned again and again: do not take Jordan out, because it messes with his head. And run standard plays at the end of games, not isolations.
– J.D. Evans