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Rip City prevails over Lob City (101-100), as Portland willed themselves to another victory by 6 points or fewer. Would you expect any different? The Blazer bench outscored the Clippers bench, and the Blazers as a team outrebounded, committed fewer turnovers, and outscored Los Angeles for much of the first half. The second half was a different story. The Blazers gave up several offensive rebounds, second chance points, and struggled after misses to get back on defense. DeAndre Jordan punished the Blazers on the glass, and made it really easy for the Clippers to get to lose balls. Portland led by as many as 12 in the 3rd quarter and by the 2:30 min mark, the Clippers had a 9 point lead.
Lillard decided it was that time, sank a 3 pointer, and the run was on. Portland finished the game on a 10-0 run. The final 2 points were 2 clutch free throws made by JJ Hickson (shooting only 65% on the season). Batum had thrown the ball away with 23 seconds left, but his contribution would not be defined by a turnover (or 5).
In the final 2 minutes Batum:
Grabbed 2 defensive rebounds
Threw a half court assist to Matthews that resulted in a
lay-up plus a free throw
Forced a jump ball on defense
And played great defense on Jamal Crawford who missed 3 shots in that time, including the final shot that could have won the game for LAC
Batum ended the game with a triple double: 20 points, 12 assists, and 10 rebounds, and he threw in a block and steal for good measure. It was Nico’s second triple double in a week, and he joins Jose Calderon, Rajon Rondo, and LeBron James, as the only other player with more than one triple double this season.
The story of the game for Portland was their work behind the arc (11-25, 44%), and at the free throw line (20-21, 95.2%). They also shot what seems to be the magic number of 46% from the field (46.7%).
Of course, Blake Griffin got his face time on sports center and filled the stat sheet. I don’t like that he never gets called for dropping his shoulder every time he trys to post up, or that he gets away with traveling, but it is what it is. I supposed the trade-off is that Jared Jefferies didn’t get called for hanging on the rim for his 2nd dunk in 2 games? Benny Adams was kiling me with the calls. I digress.
Aldridge struggled to get going all game and ended 5-14 from the floor with 6 boards. Portland struggles when Aldridge doesn’t get it going. I am hopeful he picks it up in Los Angeles tomorrow night.
Special shout out to Bruce Ely of the Oregonian who snapped the picture above, Batum's jump ball in the final seconds. By far one of his best collection of photos for a game I have seen all season. A picture is worth a thousand words, and Bruce nailed it. If you didn't see it, you can click on his name above and it'll take you right to it. Great work! And GO BLAZERS!
this was a freakish game with how things panned out. in the end, however, it was the contributions of a lot of guys which made the difference in this one. it seemed like everyone stepped up at one point in those last couple of minutes. i'm so glad we have an actual team rather than a couple big names with a supporting cast.~ KMM
Hear, hear! WE ARE A TEAM, and there have definitely been years where it was damn near impossible to say that. (like last year...) LOVE watching these guys compete every night no matter what in the end, what a great win last night for all of us.
The way this "No Quit" storyline has developed is one of my favorite parts of this season so far. As a fan, expecting the unexpected keeps me on my toes and IMO you can't ask for more than that kind of excitement in sports!Also, your blog header is hilarious. Keep up the good work!
I cannot fault the players for their effort. They continue to improve. There are a lot of mistakes that come from physical and mental fatigue. But the effort they give, and the way that they play for each other is just awesome! As frustrating as the tallent drop off is from starters to bench, I've never see a group of players enjoy playing the game as much. I had two main concerns going into the season. Making it to the end of the season injury free, and not having a defeated attitude. We're doing ok, but there's a lot of games left. I am very disappointed Olshey did not do more to bring in a guy like Mayo, as he spent all his time trying to go big (Hibbert, Gordon...). We need a back up SG, PG, and a starting center bad.@ sarah Thank you!
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