The Clippers clawed their way back from a 35-point deficit to beat the Portland Trail Blazers in their final preseason game, 115-109, on Thursday at Staples Center.
The Clippers cut their deficit to three points, 89-86, after Wesley Johnson made a corner jumper with just under 11 minutes left. But the Trail Blazers regained control, going up by 10 points, 96-86, with eight minutes and 37 seconds left.
Then the Clippers reserves put on quite a show -- and they did it against three of the Trail Blazers’ starters.
It began with Paul Pierce, who made three consecutive three-pointers to bring the Clippers to within a point of the Trail Blazers. Austin Rivers went on to make a three-pointer to tie the score, 102-102, and Johnson added a three-pointer to give the Clippers a 105-102 lead.
Blake Griffin led the Clippers with 22 points (on 10-for-18 shooting), eight rebounds and five assists. J.J. Redick had 16 points, including making three of his four three-point attempts. DeAndre Jordan had 13 rebounds. Chris Paul added eight assists, though he made only three of his nine shots.
Pierce finished with 19 points, including making five of his seven three-point shots. Rivers had 16 points, including making three three-pointers. Johnson had nine points on a perfect four-for-four shooting. Josh Smith added eight points.
The Clippers’ reserves outscored the Trail Blazers’ bench, 52-29.
How bad was the Clippers’ defense in the first quarter? The Trail Blazers scored 42 points. How good was their defense in the third quarter? The Trail Blazers only scored 17 points.
Damian Lillard led the Trail Blazers with 39 points. C.J. McCollum added 22 points.
The Clippers have won three of their six preseason games. Their regular-season opener is set for Wednesday against the Sacramento Kings. Their home opener is set for Thursday against the Dallas Mavericks at Staples Center.