Los Angeles Clippers
Portland Trail Blazers
MVP: Chris Paul’s ankles made the trip up north, and he just kept coming in this one. Paul had the full buffet working at the
Rose Garden Moda Center, as he continued to use the Trail Blazers to teach the high school class of 2025 how to play point guard. I mean, just look at this stat line: 41 points, 5 rebounds, 17 assists, 4 steals, 13/21 FGs, 5/9 3s, 10/10 FTs. Oh, and one turnover.
That was … a role reversal: You can have big comebacks on the road. But what was this?! I would have loved to been on that plane up to Portland. This game started out as expected – the Clippers couldn’t really move, weren’t all that sharp (especially defensively), and found themselves down by 19 points in the first half. The Clippers were up by 17 at home the night before before blowing a lead. But the fact that they stole this game in Portland, with both teams handchecking for home court advantage? Could have fooled me. And maybe this is about April Fool’s – the Clippers scored 41 points in the 4th quarter tonight, and the last time they scored that many points in the final quarter was on April 1, 2013, when they lost at home to the Pacers despite 41 4th quarter points.
X factor: The key moment in this game came at the end of the third quarter, with the Clippers down 92-81. Former Clipper and Reggie Evans victim Chris Kaman missed a tip in and the loose ball went to the corner. Paul reached out his arm and hit the Johnny Cage briefly, and Kaman reacted by sending Paul into the stands. Excessive levels of “hold me backs” ensued, and the result was a flagrant I called on Kaman. Paul would score 16 points over the final 12:26 of the game, and L.A. would outscore the Blazers 45-30 after the flagrant foul.
— Law Murray
Tweets Of The Game
Tonight's Clippers game feels a lot like last night's except they've reversed roles to the road team coming from behind.
— Kevin Pelton (@kpelton) April 2, 2015
— Trail Blazers (@trailblazers) April 2, 2015
To be fair, LA has been hitting the weights lately. pic.twitter.com/mpdtGS6fcS
— Trail Blazers (@trailblazers) April 2, 2015
Every time Hedo Turkoglu hits a three-pointer, I expect him to light up a cigarette afterward.
— Norman Chad (@NormanChad) April 2, 2015
Chris Paul joins Kevin Johnson and Tim Hardaway as only players to post 41+ points and 17+ assists in a regular season game since 1985
— Ben Golliver (@BenGolliver) April 2, 2015
Check Your Messages
Chris Paul’s Legacy
Chris Paul is an amazing and on his own tier as a point guard and basketball player. He is one of the greatest players in NBA history, with lasers on the back of his head, the ability to shoot and score his teams back into games, and a defensive capability to clamp even the greatest players in the world. It’s a little sad that Paul is not known for any of those things anymore.
Perhaps looking back on his career, his late-age antics will simmer down as others try and copy his style. But the helicopter flop the night before against the Golden State Warriors followed by the nut shot to Chris Kaman has firmly established Paul’s status as one of the biggest goons in the league.
Off the court, he’s the classiest, most respectable person in the entire association. Unfortunately, what’s on the court is working against him, and the Los Angeles Clippers, building them as one of the most villainous teams this year. Chris Paul is still one of, if not the best guard in the league. It’s too bad people don’t seem to care at this point.
– Andy Liu
The Clippers are one of the five oldest teams in the NBA this season, and no team relies more on their starting lineup on a nightly basis. So the word “energy” was a buzzword tonight. All five starters played at least 38 minutes against the Warriors Tuesday night. To lose that game, and take all the shade that came with it, just had to make things harder to play a full game the next night.
It wasn’t just Paul getting work done in 39 minutes. J.J. Redick, 30 years old, had 25 more points and set a career-high with 8 defensive rebounds. Blake Griffin had another versatile line of 24 points, 7 rebounds, and 8 assists, while hitting two threes. And DeAndre Jordan played a game-high 40 minutes, coming through with another double-double and breaking even on 10 free throws. Even 36-year-old Hedo Turkoglu was out there in the fourth quarter for 9.5 minutes.
Meanwhile, the Blazers didn’t stay hot after shooting 61 percent in the first half. LaMarcus Aldridge went from 9-of-14 shooting from the field before halftime to 1-of-8 from the field after halftime, and the Blazers shot 40 percent from the field as a team in the second half.
Perhaps it shouldn’t be surprising that the Clippers found the energy, though. The only team with a better win percentage than the Clippers on the second night of a back-to-back are the Warriors, who are 15-3 in those games this season. The Clippers are 14-4 in the second night of back-to-backs this season, while the Spurs are 14-6. The Clippers have two more of these games before the playoffs (Lakers on Sunday, Suns on 14th to end season), but then they will have to get the job done with some rest. Relatively speaking.
– Law Murray