Clippers’ Jamal Crawford notes, ‘It’s just the start of the series’

Jamal Crawford

Jamal Crawford/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers


Yes, the Clippers put it to the Portland Trail Blazers in Game 1 of their first-round Western Conference playoff series, the Clippers routing them 115-95 on Sunday night at Staples Center.

But Clippers sixth-man Jamal Crawford understands it’s a long series and the Trail Blazers are not a team to be overlooked.

“It’s just the start of the series,” said Crawford, who scored 13 points off the bench on 6 of 12 shooting. “They will make adjustments and do something different. They are a team that when their guards get going, we have our hands full. They are a really good team and they play really hard.

“They have a lot of pieces, so they can go big or small; they brought in Chris Kaman late in the game. They are also well-coached, so it will be a good series.”

Portland guards Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum scored 21 and nine points, respectively. Lillard shot just 7 of 17, McCollum just 3 of 11.

Game 2 is Wednesday night at 7:30 at Staples Center.

Five things to take from Clippers’ 115-95 victory over Portland

Portland coach Terry Stotts decided to have his players intentionally foul Clippers center DeAndre Jordan in the fourth quarter, but it made no difference in the outcome. (Jae C. Hong/The Associated Press)

Portland coach Terry Stotts used the Hack-a-DJ strategy late when his team was down big in its 115-95 loss to the Clippers in Game 1 on Sunday night/AP photo by Jae C. Hong


Blake Griffin played his best game since returning April 3 following a 45-game absence because of injuries and suspension. Griffin scored 19 points on 5 of 10 shooting. He also grabbed 12 rebounds, doled out six assists, made one steal and blocked one shot. He committed just one personal foul and two turnovers in nearly 32 minutes. He also had several spectacular, high-flying dunks.

– The Clippers played very well on defense, limiting the Trail Blazers to just 39.8-percent shooting – 33.3 percent (10 of 30) from beyond the arc. Starting guards Damian Lillard (7 of 17) and C.J. McCollum (3 of 11) shot a combined 10 of 28 (35.7 percent).

– The Clippers were concerned about how they would do in the rebounding department against the Trail Blazers. This was a good start as the Clippers out-rebounded Portland 48-40 overall, 11-10 on the offensive glass. The Clippers made the most of their offensive rebounds, scoring 16 second-chance points to just five for Portland.

Chris Paul not only played fine defense, he had a heck of an offensive game. Paul scored a game-high 28 points. He shot 10 of 19, 2 of 5 from distance. Paul also made all six of his free throws, doled out 11 assists and made two steals. Other than that, he didn’t do a thing.

– Hack-a-DJ was in effect in this one, especially down the stretch even though the Clippers led big. DeAndre Jordan ended up making 8 of 18 from the free-throw line. That’s only 44.4 percent. That’s still better than his regular-season percentage of 43.0. That’s not to mention the tactic did not help the Trail Blazers one bit.

Doc Rivers praises Kobe Bryant, Warriors and then talks Portland

Warriors Clippers Basketball

Clippers coach Doc Rivers shouts at a referee during the Clippers’ 115-112 loss to Golden State on Feb. 20 at Staples Center/AP photo by Danny Moloshok


Clippers coach Doc Rivers’ second team had just lost 114-105 in Wednesday’s regular-season finale at Phoenix, when he was asked to talk about the Portland Trail Blazers. The Clippers (53-29) and Portland (44-38) will tangle in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs, beginning Sunday at 7:30 p.m. at Staples Center.

Rivers at first went off topic, and for good reason.

“Portland?” he said. “We really should be talking about Kobe right now. We REALLY should be talking about Golden State first, but what Kobe is doing right now is amazing. I think we’re going to try to sign him to a 10-day. It was really cool.”

Rivers was speaking of the Lakers’ Kobe Bryant scoring 60 points in his farewell game Wednesday during a 101-96 victory over Utah, and about Golden State beating Memphis 125-104 to win its record 73rd regular-season game. Rivers finally answered the original question.

“Well, everybody’s wanted us, so we’ll be ready, they’ll be ready,” he said. “We had some really interesting games during the regular season, so I’m looking forward to it. They have two terrific guards (Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum). (Coach) Terry Stotts has done an amazing job with their role players they have around those two guards. I think they’ve improved all year, so it’ll be a tough series.”

The Clippers went 3-1 against Portland this season. They won by scores of 102-87, 109-98 and 96-94 and lost 102-91.


Clippers’ Wesley Johnson says matchup with Portland will be ‘tough’

Wesley Johnson

Wesley Johnson/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers


It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that when the Clippers and Portland Trail Blazers square off in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs, the backcourt matchup featuring the Clippers’ Chris Paul and J.J. Redick and Trail Blazers’ Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum figures to loom large in deciding the outcome.

Clippers small forward Wesley Johnson is concerned about Lillard and McCollum, among other things.

“It’s going to be a tough matchup,” Johnson said. “Dame (Lillard) and C.J. are playing really well. They show different lineups and their bigs crash a lot on the offensive boards. We have to take them out of what they like to do.”

Game 1 is Sunday at 7:30 p.m. at Staples Center (on TNT).



Clippers will have their hands full with Portland’s Damian Lillard

Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard (0) passes the ball over Denver Nuggets guard Emmanuel Mudiay (0) as center Nikola Jokic (15) closes in during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game in Portland, Ore., Wednesday, April 13, 2016.

Damian Lillard of Portland passes the ball over Denver’s Nikola Jokic, left, and Emmanuel Mudiay during Portland’s 107-99 victory over the Nuggets on Wednesday night in Portland/AP photo by Steve Dykes


Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum of the Portland Trail Blazers make up one of the NBA’s top guard tandems. But make no mistake, point guard Lillard is the main straw in that drink.

The Clippers know that, and they will be hard-pressed to contain Lillard when the teams tangle in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs, beginning Sunday at 7:30 p.m. at Staples Center. Clippers reserve guard Austin Rivers intimated his team gets what it’s up against.

“They can score the ball,” Rivers said. “They’ve got one of the best players in the game – Damian Lillard. We’re going to have our hands full with him and they have a really good cast around him, so we’ve really got to try to slow him down and make them defend us.”

Lillard is averaging 25.1 points – sixth in the league – 6.8 assists and 4.0 rebounds. McCollum is averaging 20.7 points.

The Clippers’ two starting guards – Chris Paul and J.J. Redick – average 19.5 and 16.3 points, respectively. Paul averages 10.0 assists, fourth in the league. Redick shot 47.5 percent (200 of 421) from 3-point range.

The Clippers, the No. 4 seed, finished the regular season 53-29. The fifth-seeded Trail Blazers went 44-38.