The Los Angeles Clippers and Portland Trail Blazers unsurprisingly ended up in an offensive battle on Wednesday night. The Blazers—the NBA’s surprise team in the 2013-14 season—had a look to tie it up late with the score at 120-117, but a questionable three-point attempt from Nicolas Batum was off the mark, allowing the Clips to notch the 122-117 victory over Portland.
Blake Griffin continued his torrid pace this season, putting up 36 points and 10 rebounds while shooting 13-21 from the floor and 10-12 from the foul line. Jamal Crawford was also big offensively as he added 25 points on the night. However, Chris Paul—playing in just his second game since returning from a separated shoulder—was the general that directed this high-powered Clippers offense over the Trail Blazers.
Playing 39 minutes, the All-Star point guard put up 20 points, 12 assists, four rebounds and three steals while shooting 10-15 from the floor and committing only three turnovers. Paul looked to be already back in his rhythm, didn’t seem to be slowed by any means, and looked like the player the Clippers will need him to be following the All-Star break.
The Clippers were able to remain successful while Paul was out of the lineup, largely due to the immense efforts of Griffin and Crawford. Currently sitting at the four-seed in the Western Conference right now and 5.5 games out of first place in the conference, the Clippers could be due for a push after the break and could challenge at the top of the conference. With Paul back and many pieces throughout the roster hitting their stride, a run isn’t imminent but is certainly in the cards.
The Blazers will now get some rest as they head back home and don’t play again until Wednesday against the Spurs in a tough battle between division leaders. Be sure to get your Trail Blazers tickets here.