The Trail Blazers had three days in-between their last game to Tuesday night’s contest in Los Angeles.
During those three days, which included two days of practice, the Blazers discussed how they knew this week was going to be more challenging than last week's three wins over the Thunder and the Bulls, twice.
Portland looked like they were up for the task in the first half against the Clippers on Tuesday night, keeping pace with the Clips.
“I thought we played a really solid first half even though we gave up a lot of points,” Lillard told reporters after the game. “I thought it was competitive, we did a lot of good things.”
Heading into the break, LA held a 62-59 lead.
But, the Clippers proved to be too much for the Blazers with both their offensive and defensive weapons as LA cruised to a 117-97 victory.
“To start the [second] half we just didn’t come out how we needed to for a road game against a team as good as they are,” Lillard added.
It was apparent the Clippers wore down the Blazers by the fourth quarter. Between Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, Patrick Beverley, Maurice Harkless, and Montrezl Harrell, this is a tough squad to get quality looks against.
As for the Blazers defense, that was also asking a lot versus one of the top teams in the Western Conference.
The Clippers shot 45.7 percent for the game, including an efficient 50 percent from long distance.
And even though the Blazers gave up 117 points, Lillard felt his team completed their defensive assignments that they had focused on going into the game.
I thought we did our jobs. In our scouting report, we were talking about Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, and Lou Williams. We talked about making sure we slow those guys down, and obviously PG had a really good game, but we did our jobs on Kawhi, we did our job on Lou Williams, and it just shows you how deep they are, how many guys they can turn to, and how much production that they get across the board.
The Clips’ second unit, who are highest-scoring bench in the league, outscored the Blazers’ bench 66-30 and that was with Portland’s second group getting an uptick in minutes with more than seven minutes of garbage time.
Blazers head coach Terry Stotts was in line with his team captain.
“Clippers are a good team,” Stotts said postgame. “Williams was a priority, Kawhi was a priority, and they didn’t necessarily have good offensive games, but Paul George played really well, shot the ball well, made it difficult for us, and Harrell was really impactful.”
Now the Blazers will turn their focus to taking care of business at home against an 8-11 Sacramento Kings team on Wednesday night, a team that does not have a superstar duo to deal with.
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