When Griffin gets space and some room to wind up, it's a wrap for defenders trying to contest his shot at the rim. Griffin was able to play above the rim offensively, but J.J. Hickson matched his high-flying antics on the other end. There's no getting around it anymore -- why is Griffin still getting exposed by opposing power forwards?
How many times does Paul have to rescue the Clippers? Once again, he was unstoppable in the fourth quarter. He really shouldn't have to do this sort of thing, but it's impossible not to be in awe of Paul's brilliance in isolation late in games. Who else gets game-winning layups with the whole defense geared to stop him?
Vinny Del Negro must have felt like playing the lottery as well, as his early game plan revolved around getting the ball to Jordan on the block. The four quick points from a nasty drop-step jam and a pretty jump hook were nice, but the real payoff was getting Jordan engaged in the game on both ends of the floor right from the start.
The Clippers aren't going to torch the nets with Griffin and Paul on the bench at the same time. Simply put, if the second unit isn't getting stops or turnovers, it's going to get ugly. The Blazers rattled off 15 unanswered points in the second quarter off wide-open shots while the Clippers haplessly resorted to 20-footers from Kenyon Martin.
Never underestimate the pride of an NBA player. Also-rans like J.J. Hickson who feel as if they have something to prove are liable to go off like this on a national stage. Although the Blazers couldn't find a way to stop Paul late, they deserve a ton of credit for even being there in the first place. For a team that may want to tank, this is about as good as it gets.