Portland, who was desperate not to fall to 3-0 against the Clippers, came out hot early. In the Rip City short-sleeved shirts, Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum gave their two best performances of the young series and put the Trail Blazers in the win column with their victory over LA, 96-88.
Lillard was the only Blazer who didn’t shoot poorly in the first quarter, and he finished with 12 points on 5/8 shooting; the rest of the team combined for 4/15 (27%). McCollum had a decent showing and tallied four points on 2/4 shooting. Mason Plumlee, who was a beast on the boards all night, got going early and ripped down seven rebounds in nine minutes of play. Chris Paul would be the go-to guy for Doc Rivers, and he didn’t disappoint. He had seven points and three assists and the Clippers trailed just 22-19 after one.
In the second, McCollum became the hot hand for Portland. Like Lillard in the preceding quarter, the league’s Most Improved Player shot 5/8 from the field for 12 points to lead the Blazers. Lillard played less than five minutes and didn’t make a shot from the field. Al-Farouq Aminu was second to McCollum with five, and Portland was able to throw up 27 points in the quarter. Paul was still igniting the Clippers’ offense and had six points in the second as Los Angeles mustered 21 points, and trailed 49-40 at halftime.
The Clippers pounced on Portland in the third and, once again; Chris Paul was leading the charge. He dropped nine points in the period while Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan, and Jamal Crawford all combined for 12. Lillard got back on track with eight points on 3/5 shooting while McCollum struggled, only putting up two points. Plumlee did another fantastic job on the backboards and hauled in nine while also dishing out four assists. Entering the fourth, the Blazers had a 70-67 lead.
McCollum and Lillard capped off the night by putting in eight points each in the fourth quarter; Plumlee, Maurice Harkless, and Chris Kaman accounted for the other ten. The Blazers shot 47% as a team, with Dame and C.J. shooting a mediocre percentage from the floor, 5/12 (42%). Chris Paul was unable to manipulate the offense like in the previous quarters and finished with just four points. Crawford, the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year, had 11 to lead the Clippers to a 21-point quarter.
Lillard was the game’s leading scorer with 32 on 10/20 shooting from the field; his backcourt mate, McCollum, had 27 of his own on 11/22 shooting. Mason Plumlee had an outstanding performance as well: he pulled in 21 rebounds, dished out nine assists, and became the fifth player (since ’83-84) to record those numbers in a playoff game.
CP3 had 26 points to lead the Clippers while adding nine assists and three steals. Jamal Crawford had 19 on 9/18 shooting, and DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin combined for 23 points and 23 rebounds.
Game four is scheduled for Monday, April 25 at 10:30 PM EST in Portland.