Jamal Crawford/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers
Missing Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, the Clippers did very well to trail the Trail Blazers by just 50-48 at halftime of Game 6 of their first-round playoff series on Friday night at Moda Center in Portland.
Not only are the Clippers without their two best players, guard Austin Rivers took a vicious elbow to his left eye from Trail Blazers forward Al-Farouq Aminu with 6:46 left in the first quarter. Rivers suffered gashes over and below his eye and took stitches in both areas. He returned with 5:03 to play in the second quarter.
Clippers sixth-man Jamal Crawford led all scorers with 22 first-half points. Jeff Green, who started at one of the forward spots, scored eight.
Portland guards Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum scored 14 and 11 points, respectively.
Paul is out with a fractured third metacarpal in his right hand. Griffin is out with a partially torn left quad tendon.
The Trail Blazers led the series 3-2.
Injured Clippers point guard Chris Paul winces after bumping his fractured right hand during a timeout Wednesday in the Clippers’ 108-98 Game 5 loss to the visiting Portland Trail Blazers at Staples Center/AP photo by Mark J. Terrill
– DeAndre Jordan did everything he could to try and lead his depleted Clippers to victory. He scored 16 points, grabbed 17 rebounds, blocked three shots and made 6 of 11 from the free-throw line. He had three assists, for good measure. It all just wasn’t enough.
– Jeff Green had his second consecutive solid game in 36 1/2 minutes off the bench. He scored 17 points on 6 of 10 shooting and had six rebounds, two assists and three steals. He had a couple of driving dunks that had the Staples Center crowd buzzing.
– The Clippers helped hold Portland guard Damian Lillard – the team’s best player – to just six points on 1 of 10 shooting through three quarters. But with a Clippers team described by coach Doc Rivers as exhausted from emotion, Lillard went to town in the fourth quarter, during which he scored 16 of his 22 points. Lillard made 6 of 10 from the field in the quarter, 4 of 6 from beyond the arc.
– When Lillard and C.J. McCollum are both on, that’s quite the two-headed monster to try and contain. McCollum had 27 points on 9 of 18 shooting in this one to lead all scorers. McCollum is really smooth and crafty to the basket.
– The Clippers played with plenty of spirit in this game. No one should say otherwise. But when a team is missing its two best players – Chris Paul and Blake Griffin – it’s almost too much to ask for it to emerge victorious. When the Clippers finished the third quarter on a 9-0 run to tie the game 71-71, it looked like they might have a chance to pull off an unlikely win. But Lillard got hot and the Clippers ran out of gas. Game 6 is Friday at Portland. The Trail Blazers lead the series 3-2.
Damian Lillard of Portland goes up for a shot as he is being guarded by Cole Aldrich of the Clippers during Wednesday’s 108-98 Trail Blazers’ victory in Game 5 at Staples Center/AP photo by Mark J. Terrill
Portland’s Damian Lillard had really stunk up the joint through three quarters Wednesday. At that point he had shot 1 of 10 from the field for six points, and his team’s Game 5 against the Clippers was tied 71-71 at Staples Center.
Lillard went off in the fourth quarter, shooting 6 of 10 – 4 of 6 from 3-point range – to score 16 of his 22 points in the quarter. Not coincidentally, the Trail Blazers built as much as a 17-point lead (105-88) with 3:38 to play before settling for a 108-98 victory to take a 3-2 series lead ahead of Game 6 on Friday in Portland.
“I mean, that’s my entire career in the league,” Lillard said post-game. “I’ve always been able to put the first three quarters behind me and come up big when my team has needed it.”
Lillard liked that his fellow Trail Blazers encouraged him.
“All my teammates throughout the game, they just kept saying, ‘Keep shooting, stay with it, stay aggressive, keep your mind right,’ ” he said.
DeAndre Jordan/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers
The depleted Clippers – missing stars Chris Paul and Blake Griffin – started 1 of 8 from the field on Wednesday in Game 5 of their first-round series with Portland at Staples Center. They trailed by as many as seven points in the first quarter.
By the time halftime rolled around, the Clippers were able to take a 50-45 lead over the Trail Blazers into the break. The Clippers led by as many as eight points in the second quarter.
DeAndre Jordan and J.J. Redick scored 10 points apiece for the Clippers in the half with Jordan grabbing 11 rebounds. Austin Rivers had nine points, Jamal Crawford eight and Jeff Green seven.
Maurice Harkless led Portland with 17 points and C.J. McCollum and Gerald Henderson each scored eight. Damian Lillard had only three points, however. He was 0 of 5 from the field.
The Clippers shot 44.7 percent, the Trail Blazers just 35.9 percent.
The series is tied 2-2.
Damian Lillard of Portland goes up for a shot over the Clippers’ J.J. Redick during Monday’s Game 4 at Portland, won by the Trail Blazers 98-84/AP photo by Craig Mitchelldyer
Things just got a whole lot easier for the backcourt of the Portland Trail Blazers, what with Clippers’ star point guard Chris Paul being out indefinitely after having surgery Tuesday to repair a fractured third metacarpal on his right hand. Portland’s Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum are the beneficiaries.
“I mean, it changes a lot,” Lillard said late Monday after his team tied the Clippers 2-2 in their first-round playoff series with a 98-84 victory at Moda Center in Portland; Paul’s injury was sustained in the third quarter. “More so for them as far as what they’ll have to do. When your bast player goes down, a guy that makes your team go … it’s unfortunate for one of the better players in the league to go through an injury like that, first of all. You don’t wish that on anybody. It’s a part of the game.”
Lillard went on to say that the Clippers have still have good players, but this was before it was announced Tuesday that Blake Griffin is out for the rest of the playoffs after aggravating his partially torn left quad tendon in Monday’s loss. Paul is to miss an expected four to six weeks, which means he’s done unless the Clippers advance to the NBA Finals.
Either way, Lillard said his team can’t take its foot off the gas.
“For us, our mindset has to be nothing changes,” he said. “We’ve got to have the same approach defensively and we’ve got to continue to trust each other offensively and try to just continue to overwhelm them that way.”
Chris Paul/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers
In a rather awful half of basketball, the Portland Trail Blazers took a lead of 47-43 over the Clippers into the break Monday night in Game 3 of their first-round playoff series at Moda Center in Portland.
Chris Paul scored the Clippers’ first 12 points. No other player on the team scored until Jeff Green made the second of two free throws with 2:07 left in the first quarter. Paul led the Clippers with 14 points.
J.J. Redick missed his first six shots and finished with three points on 1 of 7. Blake Griffin also started slowly and ended up with seven points and five rebounds and Green and Jamal Crawford scored 10 and seven points off the bench, respectively.
Al-Farouq Aminu led the Trail Blazers with 13 points, Damian Lillard had nine, Maurice Harkless six, Allen Crabbe six and C.J. McCollum five.
The Clippers shot 33.3 percent from the field, Portland shot 35.7 percent. The Trail Blazers also committed 12 turnovers, quite a bit for a half.