I would love to tell you the final game of the regular season between the Portland Trail Blazers and the Los Angeles Clippers had serious playoff implications or something worthwhile on the line to compete for, but that just wasn’t the case. Despite the fact the game was virtually meaningless in terms of playoff implications — unless you consider the backups gaining experience important — what looked like a blowout win for the Trail Blazers early on shaped up to become an interesting game with Los Angeles taking the lead late in the third quarter. Portland would fight back after losing their 20-point lead to eventually take control and finish the season with a 110-104 win over the Clippers.
Despite the loss, if there were ever a simplistic game plan by the mastermind Doc Rivers, it was in this one where it appeared Doc told Jamal Crawford to shoot anytime the ball touched his hands. After struggling his last two games back after missing the previous five with an injury, Crawford launched 25 shots, including a perfect 11-for-11 from the charity stripe to finish with 34 points, eight assists and five rebounds. That’s a very impressive stat line that was needed to get Crawford back on track in time for the playoffs, where they will need to keep up with the explosive scoring of Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors.
Portland, on the other hand, was led by Will Barton, who scored 23 points on a not-so-impressive 7-for-20 shooting. C.J. McCollum and Victor Claver also added 12 points apiece for the Trail Blazers, who for the most part, let their starters rest and prepare for their first-round playoff matchup with the Houston Rockets.
With the starters for each of these teams seeing little-to-no action in the regular season conclusion, both squads can walk away knowing their backups gained what experience could be necessary now that every game can be one step closer to a NBA Championship.