In an overall frustrating game for the Clippers, it was the home team that came away with a victory in Portland, 96-88. The Clippers shot just 41% from the field and 17% from deep and were out-rebounded by 12, giving up 16 offensive boards. Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum, held in check in the first two games, combined for 59(!) points in game 3, and the Clippers got really, really bad performances from J.J. Redick and Blake Griffin, who combined for just 17 points on 7-26 from the field.
Now, the Clippers will head into game 4 on Monday looking for a split in the series. If Portland can protect their home court, all of the good work that the Clippers did in games 1 and 2 is gone. If the Clippers win game 4, they'll head back into L.A. with a commanding 3-1 series lead, looking to close it out in 5 as I had originally predicted (hopefully this year they'll take game 5 with a 3-1 lead more seriously).
Portland was fighting for their lives tonight. That team, with that star, is not about to roll over down 2-0. The bigger challenge you give them, the more they'll show up. It's an admirable resilience that's part of this team's nature, and it wasn't surprising to see them show up in a big way tonight (a loss to make the series 3-0 essentially would have ended the series). It's why I predicted before the series that the Clippers would lose this game before closing it out in 5. I hope that I keep being right.
Thomas Wood will be around later tonight with an in-depth recap.