Just another down-to-the-wire overtime thriller.
Just another impressive, resume-building victory over an elite NBA team.
Just another been-there, done-that performance by the Trail Blazers, who used a Nicolas Batum three-pointer at the end of regulation and steely overtime resolve to eke out a 116-112 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers Thursday night before a sellout crowd at the Moda Center.
Exciting? Fun to watch? More like predictable. These steady Blazers never lose back-to-back games, almost always find a way to win and relish putting on a show.
“I think we just keep finding ways to win games,” a giddy coach Terry Stotts said afterward. “We’re making clutch shots, getting stops — (we) make it interesting at times. I thought it was a terrific game; glad to get a win.”
The Blazers (24-5) claimed sole possession of the NBA's best record and enhanced their already-stellar resume against the Clippers (20-11), improving to 5-1 against teams with at least 20 victories this season. And like many of the other high-quality wins, Thursday night’s performance — which came during nationally-televised game on TNT — was loaded with drama.
It started well before tipoff, when Stotts told reporters during his pregame media availability that All-Star LaMarcus Aldridge was a game-time decision because he was reeling from having his wisdom teeth yanked on Sunday. Aldridge, who had eaten just one solid meal in the last five days, was unsure of his playing status until about 45 minutes before tipoff, when he finished his pregame warmup and decided he would gut it out.
The drama continued from there as Chris Paul put on a dazzling, MVP-like show, Aldridge and Griffin provided highlight after highlight in a mano-a-mano matchup of All-Star power forwards and Batum rescued the Blazers with a little late-game magic.