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Griffin Shines, Crawford Hits Game Winner In 109-108 Victory Over Portland

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NBA: Preseason-Toronto Raptors at Los Angeles Clippers Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

With the game tied at 107 and only four seconds remaining in regulation, reigning Sixth Man of the Year winner Jamal Crawford hit a game-winning jumper from the right wing to give the Clippers a 109-107 lead and ultimately the victory.

In a fourth quarter that did not see playing time for any of either team’s starters, the Trail Blazers managed to chip away at a 13-point lead before a Grant Jerrett three-pointer tied the game with only 36 seconds remaining. Both teams missed their next attempts, leading to Crawford’s climactic shot.

Crawford ended the game with 7 points on 3 of 11 shooting.

The Clippers took their final lead with 0.2 seconds still remaining on the clock, leading to a lengthy deliberation eventually ending with a technical free throw after DeAndre Jordan sprinted excitedly to midcourt before a timeout could be called. Shabazz Napier hit the free throw, bringing the game’s final score to 109-108.

Blake Griffin had a fantastic offensive showing to the tune of 26 points on 8 of 15 shooting. He also converted 9 of 11 free throw attempts. On the defensive side of the ball, he garnered two steals and a block.

Marreese Speights and Brandon Bass each scored 16 points off of the bench, with Speights looking particularly savvy from beyond the arc as he hit 3 of 6 shots from three-point land. He also pulled in 8 rebounds and finished a game-best +10 on the court.

For the Blazers, CJ McCollum and Damian Lillard scored 20 and 19 points, respectively.

The Clippers will play their next game at Utah as they face off against the Jazz on Monday, October 17th. That game will tip off at 6:00 PM PST.

Thoughts, Blurbs, Ideas, et cetera.

–We got the best of both worlds with the primary bench unit. A staff of Bass, Crawford, Speights, Raymond Felton, and Alan Anderson gave the team a 15-point first quarter lead that stuck through the majority of the game. However, that same lineup was the one that squandered most of that lead in the fourth quarter. Offensively, it seems clear that the lineup’s success will be largely influenced by how effective the Crawford-Speights pick and fade can be. If the shots aren’t going in or the defense can play mistake-free basketball, efficiency will plummet as Mo Buckets turns into Mo Chuck It and Crawford gets double-teamed into oblivion. Presumably, Austin Rivers will find himself switched in for Felton plenty of the time, which brings its own pluses and minuses. Defensively, this lineup is obviously a nightmare and will likely be at the mercy of the opposing offense (in the first quarter, for instance, McCollum was kind enough to only take two shots against this squad. It’s unlikely that would happen in the regular season when head coach Terry Stotts will be less interested in experimenting for experiments’ sake).

–It’s been said before and I’m not bringing anything particularly new to the conversation, but it’s simply outstanding how much Griffin does on offense. He’s a monster in transition, but he is even more impressive in the half court. His versatility is a luxury for this Clippers team.

–Speaking of useful stuff involving Griffin, the pairing between him and Speights should be fruitful this season. Having two floor-spacing big men on the floor simultaneously puts a huge strain on defenses, and should make life much easier for Paul and Crawford. Whether it be in horns actions or other setups suited to pick and rolls, high post isolations for Griffin, and spacing in general, expect the offense to look pretty when these two are out there together. Any lineup featuring this pair along with Chris Paul and J.J. Redick is a good bet to get results against even the best defenses.

–Speights has scored at least 14 points in three of four games to start the preseason, which is pretty neat.

–Would it be unbelievable for Griffin to knock down 100 three-pointers this season? The short answer is not quite, but it would be rather surprising. Still, anywhere in the 40 to 60 range should be completely doable (he went 1 of 3 from beyond the arc tonight, pushing him to 3 of 7 through four preseason games).

–Disappointingly, Diamond Stone did not make his way into the game. Nobody expects him to be more than a reserve at any point this season (barring injury), but it would still be nice to see what he could do against some of the league’s less imposing big men. Rookies are just interesting like that.

–I wish I loved anything as much as Griffin loves spiking the ball off of opponents’ legs as he falls out of bounds.

–Finally, I owe an apology to those of you that read my preview for this game. I told you that Meyers Leonard would be out and Austin Rivers would be in (and, specifically, told you to keep an eye on how his performance). Those were both incorrect assertions. This was surprising since I have never made a mistake before in my life, but I suppose there is a first time for everything.

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