Portland’s bad lapses are a big issue against the Clippers

Chris Paul, Damian Lillard

Clippers guard Chris Paul collides with Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard during Game 2.

(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

Game 1 was a 20-point blowout. Game 2 was a 21-point blowout.

And during the course of being dismantled both times, the Portland Trail Blazers endured a familiar theme while losing to the Clippers at Staples Center.

The Trail Blazers kept the score close in both games until prolonged lapses led to their demise.

And now they are down 0-2 in the best-of-seven Western Conference first-round playoff series, badly needing a victory in Game 3 on Saturday night in Portland.


“I mean, I don’t see why we should not have confidence,” Portland guard Damian Lillard said after Wednesday night’s game. “I think, Game 1, we were in the game, and then they had a stretch where they got on a run. We couldn’t score the ball, and we just couldn’t close that gap for the rest of the game. [Wednesday night] we took it a step further and the game was closer for a little bit longer than it was last game, and then the same thing happened. We went cold, and they started to knock down shots.

“We’re not the first team to lose the first two on the road. Like I said, they took care of their home court, and now we’re going to have the same opportunity. So we’ve got to put together four quarters for these next couple games.”

The Trail Blazers trailed by eight points at halftime of Game 1, but eventually went down by as much as 21 in the third quarter.

Game over.


In Game 2, they trailed by six after the third quarter but a 14-4 run by the Clippers put Portland in a 16-point bind.

Game over again.

Something has to change for the Trail Blazers, and it’ll have to start with making shots.

They are shooting just 36.8% in the series, 28% from three-point range.

Lillard, who is averaging 19 points per game in the series, is making 33.3% of his shots, 21.4% of his three-pointers.

Backcourt partner C.J. McCollum, who is averaging 12.5 points, is shooting 32.1% from the field, 25% from three-point range.

Forward Maurice Harkless is making 40% of his shots, but just 28.6% of his three-pointers.


Forward Al-Farouq Aminu is making 28% of his shots, 20% of his three-pointers.

Clearly, the Trail Blazers can’t keep missing at such a high rate if they are to have any chance of defeating the Clippers.

“I think going home, everybody will be a little bit more comfortable,” McCollum said Wednesday night. “Teams usually shoot better at home. ... Chief [Aminu], Mo [Harkless], those guys will get ample looks and opportunities at home. With our home crowd behind us, we’ll be ready to go.”

Twitter: @BA_Turner

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