Once again the Los Angeles Clippers are in the NBA Playoffs, facing the Portland Trail Blazers in this first round.
The Clippers played great defense in game one, limiting Damian Lillard to 21 points, although he did have eight assists. C.J. McCollum had only nine points. Gerald Henderson managed to get 16 points and Al-Farouq Aminu had 10 points and 12 rebounds. Los Angeles was able to dismantle Portland’s pick and roll, a play the Trail Blazers count on to score points.
Part of Portland’s problem is that when they had open shots they missed. So the Clippers can’t assume the Trail Blazers will have another poor shooting performance tonight when the two teams get together for game two at Staples Center.
And there’s a good bet they have adjusted their pic and roll, maybe their entire offense, to deal with L.A.’s frontcourt bigs, in particular Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan, who is possibly the best center in the NBA right now. In game one Jordan had 18 pints and 12 rebounds, 10 of them being defensive rebounds.
The Blazers have a big hill to climb to win this game, but they are a good rebounding team and they did win one of the four games the two teams played during the regular season.
The Clippers were playing very well Sunday Night and Blake Griffin is improving with every game since coming back from injuries and a four-game suspension. Chris Paul had 28 points on Sunday along with 11 assists. Griffin finished with 19 points and 12 rebounds — that’s three players scoring double-doubles: Jordan, Paul and Griffin.
NBA Sixth Man of the Year Jamal Crawford came off the bench to get 13 points, J.J. Redick had 17 and Austin Rivers finished with 11.
The Clippers won game one by 20 points, 115-95 and it looks like they have Portland’s number. Although the Trail Blazers could have a big turn around and win this series, the reality is Los Angeles is the clear favorite.
If the Clippers — or the Trail Blazers — win this game, they will face the winner of the series between the Houston Rockets and the Golden State Warriors — the best team in the NBA, one that just set a regular season record of 73-9.
Right now the Warriors lead the Rockets in that series, 2-0. They play game 3 in Houston on Thursday.
Below is Claudia Gestro’s video report from game 1 of the series between the Trail Blazers and Clippers.
Photos by Claudia Gestro who contributed to this article.
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