It was the first game of the night, and he didn’t disappoint. We even started on big bases: intensity, WTF coaching and choke, a great recipe for a good basketball game. The Blazers not clutching the end of the Clippers bench? Gary Trent Jr. is Portland’s new franchise player? Lots to say, we’re gone.
Big game between Blazers and Clippers. Portland was supposed to go tease eighth place, hey they’ll tease next time. Blame it on a money time… rather weird, it must be said. Three more minutes to go, the score is 115-110 for the Blazers, everything seems to be handled by Damian Lillard and his pals and there a wild Doc Rivers appears. While we say to ourselves that the incumbents (like Paul George) will come back to do the job in the clutch, the coach of LA does… the opposite. More replacements, please. Terrence Mann, Rodney McGruder and others are sent into the arena to finish the match… and the mayonnaise sets. The Blazers attack (surely as surprised as we are) begins to derail and the Clippers come back to height. Damian Lillard (22 points at 10/23) wakes up with a lay-up but McGruder responds with a shoot from the bar, 118-117 for Los Angeles. And from there, lights out in Portland, no one answers. Two missed shots by Dame with the trashtalking of Patrick Beverley from the bench as a bonus. The Clippers then managed the advantage without trembling and Lillard missed the equalizer shoot. Bitter defeat for the Blazers.
All the more bitter as the Blazers seemed to be well on pace in this game. Taking advantage of the absences of Kawhi Leonard, Montrezl Harrell and Pat Bev, Portland led the debates for a good part of the match thanks in particular to the rising star of this team: Gary Trent Jr. A festival. The sophomore sent the olives like never before (as always for ten days in fact) while providing the effort for the team, the model teammate wholesale. 22 points at 7/13 shooting including 6/10 from the parking lot, all off the bench, hello the heat check. In addition, alongside, the friends McCollum (29 points) and Carmelo Anthony (21 points) did the job. Except that in front it never let go of the steak. With Paul George in the lead (21 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists at 8/16), the Clippers, collectively, were able to stay in the game with each acceleration of the Oregon players. If we add to that ultra-clutch role players at the end of the game, well that makes us a great victory for LA quite simply.
The Blazers don’t clutch in the money time, it could cost a lot of money. A defeat that hurts Portland and puts the Clips on the right track to prepare for the Playoffs and integrate the whole group into the rotation. Big performance for Doc Rivers, less for Damian Lillard, who will have to quickly move forward to continue and come back up to the Grizzlies.