The Portland Trail Blazers welcomed the Los Angeles Clippers to their home court on Thursday night and, though it was the Clippers’ second road game in two nights, the game delivered on excitement. Two of the NBA’s best teams came out and brought out the best in one another as a whole.
Individually, though, not all of the stars in this game shined. For the Clips, both Chris Paul and Blake Griffin were on their games while LaMarcus Aldridge was a monster for the Blazers. However, star second-year point guard Damian Lillard wasn’t at his best on Thursday night at home.
Playing 41 minutes in the overtime affair, Lillard finished the night with only 14 points, four assists and five boards while shooting a meager 4-12 from the field and 2-5 from three. He was doing a nice job of being a floor general and wasn’t hurting the Blazers necessarily, but he also clearly wasn’t in the mode where he’s going to take over games and near single-handedly win a game for Portland.
However, what’s impressive on the Trail Blazers’ side of things is that they were able to edge out a 116-112 victory over Los Angeles on Thursday, even with Lillard being slowed a bit. It’s one thing to get a win against a bad team when one of your stars isn’t playing well, but it’s another thing entirely for a team to pick up a win against one of the better teams in the league without a star performance from a star player.
A victory like the one on Thursday has really been the story with Portland all season. This offense is so lethal because they can attack with so many different weapons. Sure, Lillard and Aldridge are the leaders, but that doesn’t mean that success can’t be had without them. Portland still has to make believers out of a few people, but wins like the one on Thursday have to swing some votes in that area.