Trail Blazers vs Warriors Wednesday, 04/17/13 AT 07:00PM

Trail Blazers Close Home And Home Series In Los Angeles

01/27/13
  1. Written by: erikgundersen  / avg. rating: 5.0

    BY ERIK GUNDERSEN

    For the second time in as many nights, the Trail Blazers (22-21) take on the Los Angeles Clippers (32-13) on Sunday. The Trail Blazers closed the last game on a 10-0 run last night in the final 2:21 to win the game. Tonight's game will be at 6:30 at Staples Center and will be shown on CSNNW and can be heard on 1190 AM and 102.3 FM.

        •    Terry Stotts was happy with the team's win in a close game again last night, but was already talking about things the Trail Blazers need to improve post game. Specifically, Stotts mentioned that the Trail Blazers have to rebound better. The Clippers are a top-ten offensive rebounding team and have out rebounded the Trail Blazers in both meetings. The second half, when the Clippers made their run, they were +13 on the boards. Stotts also mentioned that the Trail Blazers have to do a better job defending Jamal Crawford's pick and rolls. Specifically, Stotts noted that their rotations on the back line were "a little sketchy," and that they have to execute tonight. Crawford got hot, scoring 16 of his 19 points in the second half.
      
     •    Along with Nicolas Batum's triple-double and their late 10-0 run, it was the Portland bench giving Portland a second quarter lift that helped the Trail Blazers get the win last night. The Clippers are the deepest team in the league and getting quality play from the second unit was huge in getting Portland a big lead. The Clippers eventually came back and even had a nine point lead but the added cushion throughout the game was certainly nice to have because it forced the Clippers to dig out of a hole. After two games and knowing Coach Stotts' aversion to definite rotations, it seems that there could be a steady rotation in the making for the Trail Blazers. That rotation includes playing Meyers Leonard and Jared Jeffries together in the first and second quarters as well as bringing on Ronnie Price with Will Barton. In back-to-back games it seems that those subs, along with playing Damian Lillard for the entire first quarter has had good results and the Trail Blazers have won the last two first halves against the Pacers and Clippers respectively. Given that it is a back-to-back tonight, it will be interesting to see if Stotts will opt for fresher legs or go with what's been working recently.
      
     •    Another development from last night was the Trail Blazers having Nicolas Batum initiate their offense down the stretch. Damian Lillard said post game that he enjoys being able to work off the ball from time to time as he likes not always having to "make the play," and he says that Batum "finds him" off the ball. It's an interesting wrinkle as we've seen Portland go to Lillard off the ball before with Ronnie Price but we haven't seen that action with the starting line-up. As teams continue to try and take Lillard away, having another ball handler be able to set up the offense and allow Lillard to work for a shot away from the ball could be a very important dimension for Portland's offense as each game increases in importance with the race for the eighth seed in the balance.

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