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Clippers Beat McCollum-less Blazers, 109-98

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A paperwork mistake left the Blazers without their starting 2-guard and in a hole they would not dig themselves out of.

Craig Mitchelldyer-USA TODAY Sports

Was this one decided by a clerical error?

Probably not, but I'm sure the Trail Blazers would like another chance to find out.

Prior to the game, Portland turned in a game roster with starting guard C.J. McCollum accidentally scratched out. The NBA ruled him inactive for the game, as they did in 2014 with Danny Granger when the Clippers made a similar mistake (and in Granger's first game here, no less), and the Blazers couldn't overcome the 20-point scoring hole in their lineup.

Although, in the first half, the Blazers would've needed more than just McCollum. They could've done with an act of God. The Clippers outclassed them everywhere but on the offensive boards (of course). It was those offensive rebounds, 10 of them to be exact, that kept a 23-point lead from growing into something more laughable.

Chris Paul found every good look he wanted. Portland's conservative scheme drops its young big men back away from the pick and roll, conceding the precise midrange real estate in which Paul thrives. He scored 15 on his way to a team high 21 points with 19 assists, so many of which were highlight-worthy.

Austin Rivers and Paul Pierce also had themselves a big first half, each scoring in double digits and combining to sink 5 of 5 three-pointers. Rivers finished with 16 points off the bench and Pierce converted 5 of 6 threes on his way to 17 points for the night.

When the second half started, the flood began, only it was the Blazers themselves bringing the act of God. Portland's young squad continued its assault on the glass and capitalized on poor Clipper shooting decisions to rampage down the floor for fastbreak opportunities. The Blazers cut the lead from 23 at the half to 15 at the end of the third quarter and managed to work it to as low as 6 multiple times in the final frame.

Damian Lillard, playing 43 minutes and struggling from the floor most of the night (20 points on 7-of-25 shooting), nailed a couple big fourth-quarter shots to stir a quiet home crowd and coax the Clippers into a shootout, but trading shots wasn't enough to help Portland mount a final push. The Clippers answered every big Blazer three with one of their own, and DeAndre Jordan swatted a couple key shots to seal LA's seventh straight win.

Mason Plumlee had a game for the Blazers, capitalizing on the lack of attention paid to him by the visitors. He finished with 19/9/5 and 5 offensive boards. He and Ed Davis, who scored 12 points and grabbed 12 rebounds (6 offensive), were Portland's most consistently productive players of the night.

JJ Redick continued his run of strong play, scoring 20. DeAndre tallied 14 and 14, with 5 offensive boards and 4 blocks.

Notables:

The Clippers wore Blazer Black and the Blazers wore Clipper red... Portland Head Coach Terry Stotts declined to intentionally foul DeAndre Jordan down the stretch. Perhaps it's because the Blazers were thriving in the open court. Or perhaps it's because Jordan is shooting better than 50% from the foul line over the past 8 games. DeAndre made 2 of 4 tonight... Presented without comment: when asked at halftime about his hot shooting, Austin Rivers replied, "Shooters shoot."