1. In past seasons, the Clippers would have complained and whined to the bitter end over a perceived slight.
But not this time. Not on Thursday night against the Portland Trail Blazers, not when they probably would have been in the right to explode over a controversial call that went against the Clippers.
That’s because Patrick Beverley would not let them wallow in self-pity. And because he was going to show mental fortitude, the rest of the Clippers had no choice but to follow.
The Clippers trailed 102-101 when Austin Rivers drove into the lane and drew a foul. He had fallen to the court in the process and dislocated his right pinkie finger as well.
As Clippers head athletic trainer Jasen Powell yanked and yanked and yanked Rivers’ finger back into place, L.A. assumed the guard would be shooting two free throws with 6.1 seconds left.
Instead, the officials looked at a review and overturned the call, giving the ball back to Portland.
All the Clippers stood around stunned, not sure what to make of what was happening.
“Pat brought everybody in and said, ‘What are we doing?’ We were waiting for the call to see what was going to happen,” said Blake Griffin, who wound up hitting the game-winning three-pointer at the buzzer. “So we actually called the coaches over and said, ‘All right, what are we doing? What are we doing?’ Just in case they overturned it. …
“Thankfully they called a time out so we had even more time. Honestly, that was like Pat and that was us as players. Like just in case, we have to be prepared for anything.
“That’s huge, man. When your teammates are doing that, it helps a lot.”
2. Perhaps it is easy to forget that Danilo Gallinari is a 6-foot-10, 225-pound small forward.
The Trail Blazers just found out how effective Gallinari can be using his size.
He posted up their small defenders, working Portland over for 16 points.
3. Clippers rookie guard Sindarius Thornwell played eight minutes, 31 seconds of meaningful time.
He was solid throughout his time. And it was more than just his six points that were a positive. Thornwell played with confidence.
He threw a lob to DeAndre Jordan for a dunk. Thornwell took a pass from Griffin down low, pump faked and was fouled. He made both free throws and then followed that up by making a three-pointer from the corner.
He also was strong on defense.
4. Griffin continued to show his range, hitting at least one three-pointer in all four games.
His biggest three-ball came as time expired, pushing the Clippers to victory.
5. No matter what, it seems, the Clippers are going to take care of the basketball.
They had just 12 miscues against the Trail Blazers.
Griffin, Beverley and Rivers had three each, but they are the primary ball handlers for the Clippers.