Clippers crush Trail Blazers, 116-86; Portland had 30 turnovers
A couple nights after looking really good, the Trail Blazers looked really bad.
Portland was never competitive in a 116-86 loss Monday at the Los Angeles Clippers.
The Trail Blazers had 30 turnovers, 21 of them L.A. steals. All 12 Portland players had at least one turnover.
The Blazers were outscored 31-17 in the first quarter and 35-19 in the third quarter. The Clippers' lead reached 35 points, 100-65, when Portland coach Chauncey Billups pulled all the regulars with 8:46 left.
Damian Lillard went 0 for 8 on 3-pointers. He went 0 for 9 in the opening loss to Sacramento. The Blazers (1-2) shot .370, including .222 (8 of 37) from 3-point land.
"It was embarrassing, really embarrassing," Billups said "Just the effort, we didn't start with the right mindset. The Clippers hadn't won a game, yet, had two tough losses, and they were desperate to get a win.
"We never seemed to be mentally into it. … We played like we were tired, but there was no reason to be tired. There's no excuse. We never competed like we wanted to win the basketball game."
The Trail Blazers went in the opposite direction after coming off a 134-105 home win over Phoenix in which the shot well, moved the ball and played better defensively — all things they didn't do Monday. The Clippers led by double-digit points in the first quarter, and then blew the game open in the third quarter.
"In this sport, and just like life, you gotta hit first," said CJ McCollum, who led Portland with 20 points. "I think they hit first, and we tried to respond, but it was too late."
Lillard had only 12 points, and he has 51 points in three games — yeah, he has a bunch of 50-point single games in his career. Clearly, it's an early issue with the Blazers, having their superstar struggle.
"He's in the middle of playing and doing some new things we're asking and choosing when to be aggressive," Billups said. "You play through him and everything works itself out. He's such a selfless player, he wants to make sure everybody else is OK.
"But, you can play yourself out of a rhythm. We want Dame to be aggressive all game."
Jusuf Nurkic and Robert Covington went scoreless in the first half. Nurkic had four points in the game, and six turnovers.
Nassir Little started with Norman Powell (knee) out.
For the Clippers, Luke Kennard started 5 of 5 from the field (3 of 3 3-pointers) and went on to score 23 points. Reggie Jackson had 18 points and Paul George 16 — and George had eight steals. The Clippers shot .473 and made 14 3-pointers and had 65 bench points.
Portland returns to Moda Center to play Memphis at 7 p.m. Wednesday.
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