----- Blake Griffin's buzzer-beater lifted the LA Clippers to a 104-103 win over the Portland Trail Blazers Thursday night at the Moda Center.
Blake Griffin, who finished with 25 points, eight rebounds, and five assists, knocked down the game-winner as time expired to deliver Portland their first loss at home this season. Griffin had plenty of help on the night with DeAndre Jordan adding seven points and 18 rebounds, Patrick Beverly finished with 13 points and seven rebounds and Lou Williams scored 13 points off the bench.
Portland (4-1) struggled in the first half shooting just 35.3% from the floor, but responded with a strong third quarter to cut a nine-point halftime deficit to one at 80-79 entering the fourth quarter. There were four lead changes in the final 1:20 with the Blazers twice holding a one-point lead. The Blazers had a chance to go up by three with 5.7 seconds remaining when the Clippers were called for an offensive foul and were then forced to foul. CJ McCollum split a pair of free throws giving Griffin the opportunity to win the game at the buzzer.
Damian Lillard led the Blazers with 25 points, McCollum added 23 points, five rebounds, and four assists and Al-Farouq Aminu added 19 points and six rebounds. After scoring 43 points in Tuesday's win over the Pelicans, Portland's bench contributed just 11 points against the Clippers.
Next up- The Trail Blazers will host the Phoenix Suns Saturday night with the tip off scheduled at 7:00 PM.
Chad's Take- Painful loss tonight. The Blazers struggled on defense in the first half allowing the Clippers to get open shots or opportunities at the foul line. I appreciate the way Portland responded in the second half. The Clippers are a physical team and the Blazers took several blows and kept responding. I am still baffled as to why Terry Stotts refuses to use double teams. At the very least, run extra defenders at Blake Griffin and get the ball out of his hands. Critical for the Blazers to rebound Saturday against the Suns. You don't want a loss to turn into a losing streak. The bench needs to play better, Dame needs to make some shots, and Jusuf Nurkic must stay out of foul trouble.