|April 20, 2016, 7:30 PM|
|Staples Center, Los Angeles, California|
|TNT, KLAC 570 AM, KWKW 1330 AM|
|Clippers lead 1-0|
|Game 1 - Clippers 115, Trail Blazers 95|
|Win-Loss Breakdown (2015-2016)|
|Damian Lillard||PG||Chris Paul|
|C.J. McCollum||SG||J.J. Redick|
|Al-Farouq Aminu||SF||Luc Mbah a Moute|
|Moe Harkless||PF||Blake Griffin|
|Mason Plumlee||C||DeAndre Jordan|
|98.3 (12th of 30)||Pace||98.0 (16th of 30)|
|106.1 (7th of 30)||ORtg||106.5 (6th of 30)|
|105.6 (20th of 30)||DRtg||100,9 (4th of 30)|
|Meyers Leonard (shoulder) Out|
What happened in Game One?
The Trail Blazers were able to keep things relatively close in the first half, but the Clippers threw a haymaker early in the third from which Portland could never recover. They didn't have an answer for Chris Paul's assertive offense, while they found themselves smothered whenever they had the ball. No Clipper had to play more than 33 minutes, which is certainly a welcome sign with (hopefully) long playoff road ahead.
It was evident following Game 1 that Portland is the team that's going to have to make several adjustments if they have any real hopes of extending this series. We knew their guards would have a tough time keeping up defensively, but one thing most didn't necessarily expect was for the Clips to dominate the glass. LAC outrebounded Portland 48-40 in the first game, including 11-10 on the offensive boards. Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan corralled 12 rebounds apiece, while no Blazers starter other than Al-Farouq Aminu finished with more than five. Jordan was a dominant presence on both ends, finding himself free for a slew of dunks of the pick-and-roll offensively while also successfully thwarting a number of Blazer shots on the other end.
How did the Clippers succeed?
The Clippers also hedged the hell out of the Blazers' pick-and-rolls, which effectively short-circuited anything Portland wanted to do on offense. Rather than risk letting Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum fire away, LAC left Aminu open to brick as many open looks as he could muster. The former Clipper shot just 2-for-8 from long range, so you can be sure the Clippers will employ a similar approach tonight. Obviously, Doc Rivers and his coaching staff don't buy Aminu's decent 36% three-point shooting from the regular season.
The Blazers resorted to hacking DeAndre Jordan several times in the first meeting, even late in the game when it was likely already out of reach. That's a tactic Terry Stotts has utilized several times against the Clips already this season, so it seems safe to assume we'll be in for more of that fun tonight.
The Trail Blazers were one of the weakest defensive teams to qualify for the playoffs, and the Clips had no problem exploiting that in Game One. Portland's small starting lineup played right into the Clippers' hands, which is why they were able to win the battle of the boards. Shockingly, guys like Aminu and Harkless are no match for Griffin on the glass. Look for Ed Davis, who has been a thorn in the side of the Clippers all season long, to log more than 20 minutes tonight if the Blazers want to try and reestablish a rebounding presence. Rebounding was expected to be one of their few advantages coming into this series, so failing to capitalize on it in a second straight game could prove fatal.
Matchup to watch
Chris Paul made Damian Lillard look a lot like his TV infant son in the first game, and the Blazers' talisman is going to need some more help if Portland has any hope of evening this series. He finished 7-for-17 in Game One, but no other Blazer made more than three shots from the floor. While stifling Lillard will remain the No. 1 objective for LAC, making a concerted effort to keep every other Blazer off the stat sheet isn't far behind.
CP3 was able to weave his way into the heart of Portland's defense last time out, while Lillard repeatedly found himself double-teamed with no outlet about 25 feet from the basket in Game One. Point guard play is what drives offense for both of these teams, and the Clippers had a distinct advantage in that area on Sunday. We know Paul won't be letting off the gas, it's primarily a matter of whether Lillard will be able to make up some ground in this one. If he can't, the Blazers will be staring an 0-2 hole directly in the face.
As a friendly reminder, teams are 16-254 in the history of the NBA after trailing a best-of-seven series 0-2.
Game day song of choice
Portland is a notorious hipster town, and this Portland-area band surely fits the bill. Also, they happen to be damn good:
Here's hoping the Trail Blazers are facing a calamitous (ha!) 0-2 series deficit after tonight. Game Two tips off at 7:30pm PT. Go Clips!