That historic whipping the Los Angeles Clippers endured didn’t come with a hangover, and the club will look for a second consecutive win when it hosts the Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday night.
The Clippers were crushed 124-73 by the visiting Dallas Mavericks on Sunday in a contest in which they trailed by an NBA-record 50 points at halftime. But the mood is brighter heading into the Portland game after the Clippers trounced the visiting Minnesota Timberwolves 124-101 on Tuesday night.
Quickly putting the franchise-worst, 51-point setback out of the memory is a good thing, according to veteran Serge Ibaka.
“I feel last game we know we didn’t play our best basketball,” Ibaka said after contributing 16 points and eight rebounds against Minnesota. “We knew we had to do better and be aggressive and play team basketball.”
The Clippers don’t know if star Kawhi Leonard will be available to face the Trail Blazers. Leonard missed the past two games with a mouth laceration, courtesy of Ibaka’s accidental forceful elbow during a win Friday over the Denver Nuggets.
Leonard needed eight stitches to patch up the wound.
“I am not sure when he’s getting the stitches out,” coach Tyronn Lue said, “but he’s right now just day-to-day and recovering.”
The Clippers didn’t miss Leonard or Marcus Morris Sr. (knee) during the easy win over the Timberwolves. Los Angeles led by 20 at halftime, a much-preferred margin than that 77-27 deficit against Dallas.
Lou Williams scored 20 points Tuesday and was one of seven Clippers to finish in double digits.
Los Angeles connected on 16 of 31 3-point attempts against the Timberwolves after hitting just 4 of 33 against the Mavericks. Also standing out is the fact the Clippers totaled 32 assists against the Wolves after managing only 13 vs. Dallas.
“I thought they came out with the right mindset,” Lue said of his players. “We kept plugging away. We kept playing the right way.”
Portland also is feeling good after notching a 115-107 road victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Monday night.
Damian Lillard tallied 31 points for his second straight 30-point effort. He was pleased with the strong performance against the defending NBA champions.
“It makes us just a little bit more confident to be coming on the road and continuing to grow, continuing to build on our effort,” Lillard said. “We’re just getting more comfortable with each other, and we’re bringing our energy.”
Backup guard Gary Trent Jr. surely provided firepower, matching his career best of seven 3-pointers while scoring 28 points against the Lakers.
The stellar effort in which Trent was 10 of 14 from the field, 7 of 11 from long range, came after he played just six scoreless minutes Saturday in Portland’s 128-126 overtime victory over the Houston Rockets.
“I really just got into a good rhythm, teammates finding me,” Trent said of his Monday performance. “We ran certain sets and plays that got me open and give me an opportunity to shoot the ball.”
Trent tweaked his calf late in the contest and is listed as questionable to play against the Clippers.
CJ McCollum shot was just 7-for-22 but contributed 20 points and 11 assists. He has scored at least 20 points in all three of Portland’s games.
Carmelo Anthony missed the game against the Lakers due to the NBA’s COVID-19 health and safety protocols. He joined the team in Los Angeles on Tuesday, and coach Terry Stotts said the veteran forward likely will play against the Clippers.
McCollum shed some light regarding Anthony, saying, “He’s not positive (for COVID-19) or anything like that. I assume he’ll be good to go.”
–Field Level Media