Los Angeles Clippers easily defeated the reigning Western Conference runners-up, Portland Trail Blazers 117-97. The hosts locked up Carmelo Anthony, who had just nine points, and controlled this contest throughout the entire time. It is a big win which keeps them at the same distance with the Lakers, who won in Denver tonight.
The Clippers would make a decisive run in the second half when they crushed the defiance of the Blazers. It was again Montrezl Harrell, who was the leading star in the moments when LAC made a decisive push.
Trez would pack 11 buckets in the last four and a half minutes of the third period, and open the final period with five points. Clippers 16-3 run, which took place in the finish of the third and early on in the fourth was the decisive moment, and following that, the hosts would just increase the gap between the two teams. Eventually, it went above 20 points throughout the middle of the final sequence.
“At halftime we didn’t make any adjustments. We just said we’re going to start defending, or we’re going to have a tough night,” Doc Rivers said at the press conference, adding that his team is still not in the 100% mode. “We’re not near what we’re going to be. You can feel that. Our guys know that.”
When looking at the stats, it seems that the Blazers didn’t have such a bad night and that they followed the hosts in almost any of the categories. However, what separated them was the three-point shooting percentage. Portland was 7 of 27 from downtown, while on the other hand, the Clippers were fantastic with 17 for 34, which is 50%. Paul George was fabulous with 6 hits in 7 attempts, while on the other hand, Patrick Patterson shot 5 of 7. What is interesting is that Lou Williams didn’t hit a single of LAC’s 17 threes.
Doc Rivers’ boys were terrible from the free-throw line, shooting 14 for 25, with Harrell leading the way with misses. Trez made just 4 of his 12 attempts.
However, he had a team-high for the hosts 26 points, and was superb from the field, hitting 11 of his 13 attempts, adding 9 boards. George scored 25 points, with 4 boards and 3 assists in 29 minutes on the court.
Montrezl (26 PTS & 9 REB) and PG (25 PTS & 6 3PM) were key for the Clippers to get a big home win! 🔥 pic.twitter.com/8zfzRYYazv
— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) December 4, 2019
“When you’re one of those guys, you don’t feel it out, the guys around you feel it out,” Rivers said about George and Kawhi. “The good thing with Paul and Kawhi is that they are so team-oriented, they want to fit everybody in.”
Kawhi Leonard had a slow night with 11 buckets but contributed with 8 rebounds and 5 dimes. Patterson’s role off the bench was excellent, and the 30-year old forward ended the night with 19 points and 8 rebounds.
“He went from starting to zero minutes. If you watched him prepare for a game, you’d think he was going to play 40 minutes,”Rivers said.
On the other side, CJ McCollum led the way with 20 points, while Damian Lillard scored 16. The Dame was 5 for 15 from the field, and had 7 assists, but was pretty well guarded by the Clippers defense.
That could be also said for Carmelo Anthony, who recorded just 9 points, not having a single three-point shot throughout this match. Melo was 2 for 9 from the field, with 6 boards, an assist, and a steal.
Overall, the best player among the Blazers was Hassan Whiteside with 18 points and 13 rebounds.
Portland now has a nice chance to improve their record, which stands at 8 wins and 13 losses, as they play the next four games at home. The first one is against the Kings tomorrow, then against the Lakers, OKC Thunder, and the Knicks.
Meanwhile, the Clippers (16-6) face the Bucks in Milwaukee on Friday, in one of the most anticipating matchups since the season started. After that, they have five more stops outside LA, vs. Wizards, Pacers, Raptors, Timberwolves, and the Bulls.