LOS ANGELES—The Los Angeles Clippers looked like a dominating force in Game 2 of their opening NBA Playoff series against the Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday night at Staples Center.
The Clippers’ 102-81 victory was a full team effort and due in a large part to the bench production that Coach Rivers was able to get.
“They saved the game for us,” Rivers said in his press conference referring to his bench players.
The Clippers’ non-starters turned a five-point lead into a 15-point advantage early in the second quarter. Again they were called upon when the game closed to a six-point gap in the third quarter. They were able to render the storm. The bench pushed the lead back to a 15-point advantage that stayed in double digits for the remainder of the game.
NBA Playoff games are typically very predictable in the case that bench players are used less frequently and, consequently, the starters minutes increase. This has not been the case for Los Angeles thus far.
“But our bench has been damn good all year,” Coach Rivers said to the press after Game 1. “Why go away from them now?”
The starters looked sloppy from the beginning, as DeAndre Jordan was whistled for a foul on the tip-off before either team even gained possession. When the starters are struggling you expect your bench to be able to come in and show some poise to get the team back on track.
The Clippers’ non-starters outscored the Trail Blazers’ bench, 43-10.
One would say they answered the call.
The Clippers now have to travel to Portland for Game 3 at a difficult place to play at the Moda Center. Consistent bench play becomes even more challenging on the road, so the Clippers will ride the wave of two great home performances and hope they can emulate some of the production. Tip-off is set for 7:30 p.m. PST.