Wednesday, Dec. 30: Clippers 128, Blazers 105
The skinny: It was an ugly second game in Los Angeles, as the Clippers routed the Trail Blazers 128-105 Wednesday at the Staples Center. The Portland loss came two days after the Blazers beat the Lakers in the same building.
The Clippers led by 19 points, 76-57, at halftime, started the second half on a 9-0 run and eventually led by 30 points.
Coach Terry Stotts pulled the regular players with about eight minutes left in the game.
The Blazers fell to 2-2.
CJ McCollum hit seven 3-pointers and scored 25 points. Damian Lillard had an off night shooting, going 3 of 14 from the field (0 of 8 3-pointers) and scoring 20 points based on his 14-of-15 free-throw shooting. Carmelo Anthony returned after a one-game absence and scored 15 points.
Jusuf Nurkic had four points, four rebounds and four turnovers. The Blazers had 17 turnovers (13 L.A. steals).
Kawhi Leonard, playing with a mask because of a mouth laceration, which forced him to miss the previous two games, led the Clippers (4-1) with 28 points. Paul George added 23 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists.
The Clippers shot well over 50% for most of the game; they finished at .495 and made 18 3-pointers (.474). They had a 52-26 advantage on points in the paint.
Back-to-back: Like the Lakers, the Clippers were playing the Blazers in a back-to-back situation, having beaten Minnesota on Tuesday. Clearly, the Clippers weren't tired, thanks to Leonard being fresh.
Trent out: Gary Trent Jr., after exploding for 28 points against the Lakers, sat out Wednesday's game with a right calf strain. Stotts said Trent suffered the injury late in the Laker game.
Collins surgery: Big man Zach Collins suffered a setback in recovery from offseason ankle surgery. He underwent revision surgery Wednesday to repair a left medial malleolus stress fracture. He's out indefinitely.
He'll be missed, as the Blazers counted on him as a rotation piece. Nurkic and Enes Kanter still get center minutes, and Robert Covington starts at the power forward position and Carmelo Anthony can serve as backup. But, it's a good thing the Blazers acquired Harry Giles in the offseason; he could be an answer for bigs minutes.
Collins missed most of the 2019-20 season after shoulder surgery. He returned for NBA bubble play before suffering his ankle injury.
"I just really feel bad for Zach," Stotts said.
Nice strokes: The Blazers went 29 of 34 at the free-throw line.
Next up: The Blazers play two games at Golden State — 7:30 p.m. Friday and 5:30 p.m. Sunday.
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