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Clippers hold off Trail Blazers for win… can these two meet in playoffs, please?

Feb 13, 2014, 3:21 AM EDT

Portland Trail Blazers v Los Angeles Clippers Getty Images

If the playoffs started today, the Los Angeles Clippers and Portland Trail Blazers would meet in the first round… please let that happened. Defense? Who needs it? We want Blake Griffin vs. LaMarcus Aldridge. We want dunks and threes. This matchup would just be entertaining.

When these two teams first met the day after Christmas it took a dramatic Nicolas Batum three to send the game to overtime where Portland pulled away.

Wednesday night was similar — 40 lead changes with neither team leading by more than seven points the entire way. But the Clippers went on a late 8-2 run and that was enough to get them a 122-117 win.

That evens the season series 1-1, with the third and final meeting on the final night of the regular season. That game could end up mattering in the playoff chase.

The question about both of these teams heading into the second half of the season is defense and not a lot of it was on display Wednesday — the losing Trail Blazers had an offensive rating of 116.2 points per 100 possessions (the Clippers were at 127.6). Portland has now lost three of four and they gave up an average of 117.3 points in those three losses. This game fit with that — it was tied 61-61 at the half.

The Clippers scored wherever they wanted — they were 25-of-30 in the restricted area and 13-of-27 in the midrange, plus 4-of-10 from deep. Portland’s defense let the Clippers just get good looks, particularly dunks and lay-ups, all night long.

Leading the way was Blake Griffin, who had 36 points on 21 shots, plus he pulled down 10 rebounds. Jamal Crawford had 25 points, Chris Paul 20 points and 12 assists.

Portland on the other hand was taking jumpers, but that’s what they do and they were knocking them down.

LaMarcus Aldridge was answering Blake early. Aldridge was coming off a rough 5-of-22 shooting night so he came out hot in this one — he missed his first shot but then knocked down his next seven in a row. He finished the game with 25 points. Damian Lillard added 21.

But Portland’s shots didn’t fall when it mattered most. The Trail Blazers took a 115-114 lead on Damian Lillard free throws with 3:15 left in the game, but then shot 1-of-8 down the stretch. They were settling for deep threes and the shots weren’t falling.

The Clippers defense wasn’t good, but it was better when it mattered and you can see flashes of them playing elite defense.

I just want to see that tested by the Blazers in the playoffs. It would be a great series.

  1. lakerade - Feb 13, 2014 at 4:55 AM

    The West in general is full of great playoff match up possibilities. These two teams, the Warriors, even Houston. It’s going to be some good watchings. I had the Blazers-Clippers game on at the same time as Warriors-Heat tonight, I was entertained. Thanks NBA, Happy Allstar Wknd.

    • pbtunpaidwriter - Feb 13, 2014 at 4:59 PM

      I never want the West playoffs to end. I wish there could be an entire season of the West’s top seeds playing each other. Basketball at it’s finest.

      The Blazers need a crazy mofo on their team. Matthews is rugged and tough but it seems like they need a rugged big man to give them an edge. Aldridge and Lopez don’t provide that. THey also need playoff experience but I’m just nitpicking and they’re a veryy good team.

  2. unxpexted1 - Feb 13, 2014 at 8:19 AM

    I would love to see these two and OKC vs GS in the western conference finals. But hard to leave Houston out though. West is going to be fun as always.

  3. ufools - Feb 13, 2014 at 9:37 AM

    Yeah, we’ll the season doesn’t end today. Houston isn’t going to stay in the 3 spot.

  4. ufools - Feb 13, 2014 at 9:38 AM

    @unexpected…..that’s a lot of guys playing in one game.

    • unxpexted1 - Feb 13, 2014 at 10:07 AM

      meant to say semi-finals

  5. mat9844 - Feb 13, 2014 at 10:52 AM

    I think a strong case can be made for Blake Griffin to get the Most Improved Player award this year; his numbers are phenomenal, and his total game has gone to another new level.

  6. jerdogthompson - Feb 13, 2014 at 11:30 AM

    I’m confused as to how the clippers would play the trailblazers if the playoffs started today. By virtue of all the other tie break criteria wouldn’t the Clippers be 4 and Portland remain 3? Houston would go to 5 and thus the Clippers would play Houston.

    What am I missing Kurt?

  7. spursareold - Feb 13, 2014 at 11:46 AM

    Portland falling like a rock…for the second year in a row. As a coach, you need to understand your team. Portland is a jump shooting team. Jump shooting teams need their legs. When you play a 7-8 man rotation for months on end, your players will lose their legs. Golden State gets it. They’ll play BAD bench players for limited minutes to save their starters for the playoffs.

  8. 1forest1 - Feb 13, 2014 at 12:27 PM

    GS is 8th seed, and Memphis is 9th. The west is too stacked

  9. ufools - Feb 13, 2014 at 7:53 PM

    The western conference is reason why the top 16 teams in the NBA need to make the playoffs…..not the top 8 from each conference.

    Memphis is 9th in the west at 29-23. That would be 3rd seed in the east. Just sad.

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