Blake Griffin was fresh off a career-high and record-setting performance against Indiana earlier in the week, where he scored 47 points and grabbed 14 rebounds on MLK Day, only to have his double-double broken the next game against Minnesota.
Griffin also watched another fellow emerging star (Kevin Love) keep his double-double streak alive in that same game. But on this night, Griffin and his teammates fall prey to a “hot” Portland Trail Blazers team and lose the game by a blowout score of 108-93.
Griffin scored 20 points and snagged 18 rebounds to begin another double-double streak, but it was not enough to stop the flame of the scorching Trail Blazers.
The Clippers, winners of their last three games in a row, and six out of their last seven, saw that three-game winning streak come to end against a Portland Trail Blazer team playing without their perennial superstar (Brandon Roy). They started out this game like gangbusters and jumped out to a 16-2 lead, before the Blazers jumped right back into it by going on a 25-2 run late in the second half, to end-up leading at halftime by a score of 55-50.
Portland (24-20) led 84-71 in the third after underrated forward Nicolas Batum made back-to-back 3-pointers. Andre Miller scored on an alley-oop and then a breakaway layup to extend the lead to 90-79 with 9:02 left in the game.
Portland had the game under control by then and never relinquished the lead again.
Eric Gordon was his usual self, and had 35 points for Los Angeles (16-26) despite playing with an injured tendon on the ring finger of his shooting hand. Baron Davis had 16 points and six assists, and DeAndre Jordan had a game-high 3 blocks, all in a losing cause for the Clippers.
LeMarcus Aldridge and Wes Matthews both had 28 points, and Andre Miller chipped-in 15 points and game-high 7 assists, in a divisional battle that pitted two rising Western Conference teams in an epic battle for conference bragging rights.
But the story of the night was how Blake Griffin went head to head against another rising superstar on the Blazers team (LeMarcus Aldridge). Aldridge had the arduous task of having to guard Griffin, who has emerged as the quintessential power forward in all of basketball.
When Aldridge was confronted by reporters and asked about his experience in going up against Blake Griffin and what that matchup meant as far as making the All-Star team and representing the Western conference.
Aldridge said, “It really doesn’t matter; I am not getting caught up in that. I think people want me to get caught up in it but I am not. I am about trying to win, and I didn’t do anything extra tonight.”
But later on toward the end of the interview, Aldridge was more candid in summing-up the experience of going head-to-head against the likes of Blake Griffin.
“I definitely respect his game, he plays the whole game from start to finish. He’s a great talent – athletic, physical and he goes to the basket strong,” Aldridge said.
Both of these power forwards have a strong case for this year’s All-Star team. Griffin is averaging 22.6 points and 12.8 rebounds a game, and Aldridge is averaging 21.3 points and 8.8 rebounds per game.
But the only difference between these two players is: Aldridge has probably peaked in terms of his skills and what he will bring to the table each night, whereas right now, Blake Griffin is only just a fraction of the player that he’ll turn out to be as he gets more experience under his belt. I’m just saying.
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