Los Angeles Clippers (2) vs Portland Trail Blazers (3)
7:30 p.m. PST
April 29, 2016
1. Spin me a 40-word scenario where the Clippers take Game 6.
Aaron Williams (@aaronsmarter): Dame and CJ meltdown, DJ blows up, Crawford goes nova, Pierce comes back, Stotts gives up, Jeffrey Green, playoff hero. Did it in half.
Brandon Tomyoy (@dingyu): Lillard and McCollum are contained, and Portland’s role players don’t step up. Luc Mbah a Moute becomes a wall, Jamal and Austin score like it’s OKC revisited, Jeff Green builds on his big Game 5, and Cole Aldrich swallows the paint alive.
Roscoe Whalan (@RoscoeWhalan): After hanging tight through three quarters, like they did in Game 5, Jamal Crawford carries the Clippers down the stretch on the back of a series of clutch threes — including a 4-point play — which ties things up. Then, out of a timeout on the final possession, DJ gets fouled and steps up to the line for two free throws. The Portland crowd roars as he air balls the first. DJ takes a deep breath, relaxes his shoulders and collects himself before tossing the second one up. Swish! The Clippers win! We’re going back to L.A.
2. Who’s a pending free agent on the Clippers you’d like to see in LA again next year?
Williams: BRING BACK COLE.
Tomyoy: In terms of building a history with players, Jamal has to be considered, but if the decision was solely based on need, Cole Aldrich is the guy. He has the highest Player Efficiency Rating among the entire second unit, and he’s the big man off the bench that can both score and rebound that the Clippers have been lacking in seasons past. Plus, his style of play around the basket offers a level of finesse that helps the team to provide a more varied attack.
Whalan: In order of preference: Cole, Jamal, Jeff (Green), Austin, Luc, Wesley, Pablo, Jeff (Ayres). Cole has been a revelation. Jamal, as frustrating as he can be, has been so durable and still can score in bunches. I’d like to see what Green could do with a full season in LA — and with a healthy squad. And also, I just have a soft spot for young Austin.
3. Does the winning team of this series go more than 5 games with GSW?
Williams: Absolutely not. I staunchly believed that the Clippers could take a Game 7 away from Golden State with both their All Stars intact and motivated. With the improved bench chipping away, and some creative lineup wizardry (mostly turning off Pierce’s alarm clock on game day and/or bribing his driver to go the opposite direction of the arena), the Clippers could edge the Warriors with their defense and size advantage in the paint. Rivers-Crawford-Green-Pierce-
Tomyoy: If it’s the Clippers, getting to five games against even a Curry-less Warriors team would be defiant. For the Blazers, on the other hand, they have a chance to make it a more competitive and longer series. Don’t forget that the Blazers gave Golden State one of their nine losses on the season, and if there is one other guard in the league that has both the range and explosiveness that almost reaches Curry’s otherworldly levels, it would be Lillard.
Whalan: Both have a puncher’s chance; the Blazers a better one than the Clips. As we’ve seen in this series Lillard is always one made bucket away from catching fire and that alone gives the Blazers a chance at stealing one off GSW. That said, the chances likely end there. I can’t see a second round series with the Warriors going the two-week distance — even with Curry missing time.