Sometimes a loss is exactly what it seems to be. No unlawful ejections, no fouls that Doc Rivers whines about when the game is over. Nicolas Batum hit one big shot to send the game between the Portland Trail Blazers and the Los Angeles Clippers into overtime, before LaMarcus Aldridge sealed the deal despite a huge night from Chris Paul and Blake Griffin.
The Blazers won 116-112, with their biggest problem being LaMarcus Aldridge not going in completely healthy, still in pain from having a wisdom tooth pulled out earlier in the week. In the end, as he was hitting turn around jumpers over Blake Griffin again and again, he didn’t seem to be that bothered, finishing with 32 points, 10 rebounds and 4 assists. Aldridge hit all of the field goals for the Blazers in overtime, having himself his ninth game this season with at least 25 points and 10 rebounds, second only to Minnesota’s Kevin Love.
I’ve had nothing but soup for the last four days. So I was a little worried about my energy levels. It’s still a little throbbing.
The Clippers were still vexed with the events from a night before – Blake Griffin getting ejected against the Golden State Warriors. Having the league admit that the refs messed up that call doesn’t really make things better, knowing it doesn’t really change anything: The same awful referees continue to officiate in games, while no one is going to bring back the loss that might come in to be a vital piece of tie-breaking material when this season is over. Griffin, having himself another big day with 35 points and 11 rebounds, felt like he was fouled in overtime on a play that could have tied the game for the Clippers. His attempts at attention went unnoticed.
Chris Paul had another huge night, scoring 34 points to go with his 16 assists and 6 steals. It seemed he put the Clippers up for good before Batum knocked down a three pointer to tie the game at 101. Paul had a chance with a pretty open 17-footer on the next possession, but it bounced off the rim to the board and out, sending the game into overtime where the Clippers just couldn’t get a stop on defense. Maybe Paul was simply too open on that potentially game winning shot? He thinks so.
I got right where I wanted to — I probably tricked myself too much, I don’t even know if they had a foul to give. And with five seconds left, I think I went a little too quick because I thought they were going to try and use one of their fouls. I didn’t think I would end up as wide open as I was — I’ve got to make that shot.
You can’t leave the best three-point shooting team in the league for something like Batum had. The rotation messed up for the Clippers and not for the first time, leaving the Frenchman to knock down one 13 threes by Portland during the game. Batum finished the game with 19 points, just like Wesley Matthews who also connected four times from beyond the arc.