LA Clippers’ defense crushes Trail Blazers for 111-80 win

The LA Clippers used their stout defense to dominate the Portland Trail Blazers and win 111-80, continuing their best start to a season in franchise history at 7-1.

Blake Griffin posted a quick double-double with 22 points and 13 rebounds in 26 minutes as the LA Clippers (7-1) crushed the Portland Trail Blazers (5-3) 111-80 at Staples Center. The Blazers trailed by as much as 48 points in the third quarter and failed to score more than 100 points for the first time this season. If that performance against one of the NBA’s better offenses doesn’t make you respect the Clippers’ league-best defense, not much else will.

Los Angeles started the game with the same defensive intensity that has taken them to their best start in franchise history. The ball movement for the Clippers was crisp, and they did the little things with persistent hustle plays, getting quick hands against ball handlers and in passing lanes, and switching on D without being late or fouling. Nine steals helped lead to the Clippers racking up 17 points off turnovers in comparison to the Blazers’ two.

The game was never close. By half time it was a 29-point game.

Chris Paul started the fun by finding DeAndre Jordan for a quick lob. They started the game 8-2 and never looked back. The Clippers shot a terrific 59 percent in the first quarter and finished the night at 43.7 percent, including 34.4 percent from three with 11 makes.

With 3:54 left in the third quarter, the starters took a seat and never came back into the game. The score was 87-43 when they took a seat.

Paul shot 3-of-6 from three, continuing his good shooting touch from deep (42.4 percent for the season). J.J. Reddick chipped in 10 points in 18 minutes, because of early foul trouble. Jordan finished with 16 points and 9 rebounds for the game. Marreese Speights came off the bench as the leading second unit scorer, adding 12 points and eight rebounds.

Clippers defense is a force to be reckoned with

The Clippers held the Trail Blazers to 35.2 shooting, right after the thrilling 124-121 win they had against the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday night.

The Clippers were a plus eight on the boards (55-47) against the Blazers, which is a weakness Doc Rivers has wanted to address after his team ranked a mere 29th in rebounding rate last season. At a solid 12th so far this season, it’s safe to say they’re improving.

The Blazers were just a step slow all night, and couldn’t buy a shot to go in because of the Clippers’ pesky defense. Which, as we’ve seen now, goes beyond the starting lineup and across the second unit, led by guys like Austin Rivers, Wesley Johnson, and simply everyone buying in.

Portland’s Damian Lillard, the NBA’s second-leading scorer at 32.8 points, had only eight points after making just one of his 10 shots. C.J. McCollum, who was averaging 22.9 points, was also held to eight on 4-of-11 shooting.

Bench play was all the Clippers had during the last quarter, and even though the Blazers were able to cut down the lead from 48 to 31, the game was already out of reach.

Notes

This win for the Clippers is their largest margin of victory against the Blazers in any regular season game. No starter for the Clippers played more than 26 minutes, which is exactly what Doc wants to see. Any rest for the starters to keep them rested is ideal, and it’s made possible more often by performances such as these.

The Clippers will head to play the Oklahoma City Thunder (6-2) to try and avenge their only loss on the season. Russell Westbrook and the Thunder edged out the Clippers on November 2 85-83.

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The Clippers will try to get the ball away from the walking triple-double Russell Westbrook and force turnovers and bad shots, crashing the boards against a team with the likes of Steven Adams and Enes Kaner that can pose some problems.

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