The Los Angeles Clippers opened the season on the road in Portland to take on the Blazers. The Blazers bounced the Clippers from the playoffs last season. It was the return of Chris Paul and Blake Griffin as Damian Lillard looked to follow up his 39-point effort in their first game.
The pace was quick from the start for both teams. Damian Lillard came out attacking as he scored a quick 10 points. Portland also got a boost from Maurice Harkless as he added seven points in the opening quarter after being held scoreless in the first game.
Blake Griffin came out shooting the ball. He was only 3-8 in the quarter but he was aggressive and looking for his shot. The Clippers were led by their bench which scored 11 points in the quarter.
The bench went on a 16-0 run to push the Clippers lead to double digits. Mo Speights scored 11 points in just six minutes of action. When Chris Paul returned he begin to look for his shot more. He was able to draw some questionable fouls with his aggression.
Portland just struggled shooting the ball in the 2nd quarter. They were held to just 30% shooting and were outscored 30-22 in the quarter. After an efficient first quarter Lillard only scored one basket in the quarter. C.J. McCollum only attempted four shots in the half. Lillard and Harkless led Portland with 12 points apiece.
The Clippers dominated the offensive glass which led to 11 second chance points. Chris Paul had 12 points, four rebounds and three assists going into the half. Blake Griffin led all scorers going into the half with 16 points. He added six rebounds, five of them on the offensive glass. Their bench scored 22 of their 58 points.
The defensive intensity for the Blazers was different to start the 3rd quarter. They came out with a 10-0 run to quickly erase the halftime deficit. With each stop they were out in running and getting easy baskets in transition. With all the intensity Mason Plumlee got into it with DeAndre Jordan. Harkless continued his strong play by scoring 9 points in the quarter.
After starting the quarter 0-7 the Clippers finally found their rhythm. Paul and Griffin had six points apiece. As a team they looked a step slower on defense. On the offensive side they took too long to get into their sets often settling for a tough long jumper. The bench played well once again as Austin Rivers scored six points to end the quarter.
Heading into the 4th quarter the game was tied at 82.
The 4th quarter wasn’t exactly the best looking quarter. Both teams struggled to score the ball as the game got more physical. There were two Flagrant 1 fouls called against the Blazers.
The Clippers used that as momentum and went on an 8-0 run and never looked back. Their defense made things tough on Lillard and McCollum. Portland was unable to get anything in the paint and struggled with turnovers.
Los Angeles kept Portland in the game by committing silly fouls and turning the ball over. Portland cut the lead to single digits but it was too late. C.J. McCollum could never get anything going and was just 5-12 from the field. After a quick 10 points in the first quarter Lillard struggled to find his shot. He finished with 29 points, most of them coming late in the game. He was just 11-24 from the field.
Chris Paul hit some big shots early in the quarter when Portland went on a run. He finished the game with 27 points, five rebounds and five assists. Blake Griffin added 27 points, 13 rebounds and three steals. The Clippers bench outscored the Blazers bench 45-20.
The Clippers head home to take on the Utah Jazz on Sunday.
The Blazers will play their first game on the road against the Denver Nuggets on Saturday.