Every morning, we will give you five things from the night before in the NBA to start your day.
1: Paul, Griffin come alive in final act/quarter
A good piece of music rises and falls like a good story. It climaxes at the end and builds and builds.
Excuse the cliche, but it fits what happend when the Clippers won at EnergySolutions Arena, erasing a 10-point deficit entering the final quarter. Chris Paul came alive with 14 points and nine assists in the game, doing must of the action in the fourth quarter. That included the game-winning basket.
Utah remains a difficult place to play and so any win a team like Los Angeles can get there is still a pretty significant one.
The thing was that Blake Griffin busted out to get this win. Griffin scored a season-high 30 points and grabbed 11 rebounds. More impressively, as Griffin expands his game expands, Griffin shot 11 for 20 from the floor.
Certainly the Clippers showed a lot of grit on the road in trailing most of the way and fighting forward for the win. That showed a lot of maturity from this young team.
2: LMA turns Portland's road trip around
The Trail Blazers had a rough start to their road trip East. Losses to Washington, Boston and Detroit opened the trip up and it looked like Portland was falling off the pace and headed back to the bottom of the standings like last year. That was a disappointing place for a franchise that was used to Playoff success for so long.
The Trail Blazers were not coming home empty handed though.
Nicolas Batum went wild in an overtime win over the Cavaliers to stop the bleeding. LaMarcus Aldridge did the same in overtime to defeat Charlotte and bring some measure of success to this road trip. That is what the Trail Blazers needed.
Sure, Aldridge was somewhat embarrassed on a dunk from Byron Mullens. Aldridge said though where early in his career he would have let that affect him, he was much happier with his 25 -point, 13-rebound, five-asssist outing and the 118-112 win.
The Trail Blazers remain an intriguing team with a lot of talent but maybe not the experience to do much with it. Aldridge's maturity though continues to be a big part of this team's overall growth. The hand-wringing about how much patience he will have continues to be an issue.
For one game, he delivered on every promise.
Andre "point guard" Drummond
More Larry Sanders
Magic steal and buzzer beater
4: Line of the Night: Ben Gordon — 29 points, 8/12 3FGs
Yes, the Bobcats lost but Ben Gordon was superb once again, particularly from beyond the arc. Gordon has made a career making crazy 3-pointers and going on runs where he simply cannot miss. He had another one of those nights for the Bobcats. That helped keep the game in overtime. Alas, you cannot rely on 3-pointers entirely. That can only spell doom as the Bobcats lost.
5: You can quote me on that
Letting teams know it's going to be tough to get a win at the Palace. That's the type of mentality we want to have, but we also want to take that mentality on the road as far as playing defense and making it tough on whoever we're playing.
This is the first trip I feel we're ready to go. We're ready. Actually, I am excited by this trip.