Griffin's second half salvaged his stat line, but he didn't play as well as his numbers indicate. He settled for too many long-range jumpers, regardless of his outlier stretch of making three in a row. On a positive note, he was very active on the offensive boards, and played good post defense on LaMarcus Aldridge despite the forward's size and length advantages.
The grade might seem harsh, but so was watching Paul play in the first half. In 10 minutes of basketball, Paul was held scoreless and had three fouls in his worst half of Clippers basketball. He was thoroughly outplayed by his counterpart, Raymond Felton, who consistently zigzagged by him into the lane and controlled the pace. This was a night to forget for Paul.
Butler is the most confounding Clipper, and Tuesday night confirmed that. At times, his offense carried the Clippers through stretches and made the game competitive. Other times, Butler's shot of choice was the inefficient step-back jumper and Gerald Wallace was toying with him like a rag doll. It seems to be black or white with Butler. L.A. should hope for shades of gray.
While there was plenty to dissect and criticize about the Clippers' performance, one line in the box score stood out in particular -- they finally outrebounded their opponent. For eight straight games, including their two preseason contests, the Clippers were demolished on the glass. Credit reserve big man Reggie Evans, whose energy and hustle on the boards is contagious.
Nate McMillan's squad came out and made the necessary adjustments. The Blazers took care of the ball and ran at every opportunity, resulting in every starter scoring in double figures. Defensively, they packed the paint, forced the Clippers into taking long jumpers and used their perimeter length to disrupt L.A.'s passing. It was a great all-around effort for the West's dark horse.