Trail Blazers Blow Lead, Lose to Clippers 113-112

Another game against the Clippers, another loss.

The Portland Trail Blazers completed the unfortunate hat trick, getting swept by Los Angeles in the season series after a 113-112 loss. Make no mistake, the Trail Blazers are struggling, but, in a game where Damian Lillard and Jusuf Nurkic both sat due to injury management, there were positive takeaways.

The Trail Blazers played better defense in the first half than fans have become accustomed to, allowing quarters of 31 and 26 points. Offensively Norman Powell was cooking in the first half, shooting 7-11 for 17 of his 23 points on the night. CJ McCollum led Portland with 28. Carmelo Anthony, despite shooting a putrid 5-18 had a handful of vintage looking moves with the ball in his hands.

But ultimately, a game that features 14 lead changes comes down to who makes shots down the stretch, and the Clippers’ Paul George answered the call. George scored six straight points on the L.A’s final three possessions, including the go-ahead free throws with under five seconds remaining. CJ McCollum got a good look at the buzzer, but it hit the back iron and the Trail Blazers walked off the court losers in a tough matchup.

It doesn’t get any easier for the Trail Blazers – they have to face the Denver Nuggets Wednesday on the second night of a back to back. Good news for Portland: Damian Lillard will reportedly make his return after missing three games due to a sore right hamstring.