Team Records: LA Clippers (25-13) at Portland (30-8)
Game Info: 7:30 PM-TV on KGW/ESPN, Radio on 620 AM
ESPN Announcers: Mike Breen, Mark Jackson, Lisa Salters
Vegas Line: Portland -3.5
Refs: Ed Malloy, Bennie Adams, Scott Twardoski
The Skinny: The Blazers look to avenge one of their early season losses as they face the Clippers at home Wednesday night. LA looked to be finding their groove a while back, at one point winning nine straight. However, the Clippers have regressed as of late, going 2-2 in their last four games and hardy looking convincing even in their wins.
Last Time They Met: The Blazers roared out of the gate to a big early lead but the Clippers clawed their way back and held on at the end for a 106-102 LA win. Redick paced LA to the win with a game high 30 points.
Projected Clippers Lineup:
PF-Blake Griffin (Oklahoma-5th Season)-22.7 PPG, 7.7 RPG, 5 APG.
SF-Matt Barnes (UCLA-12th Season)-9.4 PPG, 3.2 RPG, 1.2 APG.
C-DeAndre Jordan (Texas A&M-7th Season)-9.4 PPG, 13.5 RPG, .6 APG
SG-JJ Redick (Duke-9th Season)-15.1 PPG, 1.8 RPG, 1.6 APG.
PG-Chris Paul (Wake Forest-10th Season)-17.9 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 9.6 APG.
Player to Watch: Chris Paul (pictured at right)-Lost in all the discussions of the best PG in the NBA it has seemed at times is Chris Paul. Maybe its because he’s been so good for so long, that he’s doesn’t make that many highlight reel plays compared to his teammates, or maybe it’s that he has stagnated the past few years. Well, when stagnating is a 25.48 PER, 7th best in the league and 2nd among PGs behind Curry, you can figure me when I say he’s pretty damn good. CP3 is a very good scorer, although he’s an even better passer. His defense is very good as well and he constantly ranks among the league-leaders in steals. Rarely does he seem to make a bad play, it doesn’t always work but he always seems to make the right decision no matter the result. CP3 is clearly a force to be reckoned with.
Did You Know?: Chris Paul has thrown 436 successful alley-oop passes in his career, including 199 as a member of the Clippers.
Song of the Day: “Capital Ship”, a traditional English folk song. This song is about a ship that has a bad captain. That seems to fit the Clippers as Doc Rivers has struggled mightily as coach this year. Enjoy:
Portland: Out-C Robin Lopez (Hand), PF/C Joel Freeland (Shoulder), Questionable-SF Allen Crabbe (Knee)
LA Clippers: None
Re-Evaluating the Clippers: A Misguided Ship
Doc Rivers won a title as head coach to be sure, with the original “big 3″ in Boston but he’s never really been considered that good a coach. He’s a good motivator and does a good job coaching talented teams and keeping egos in check but he’s not very good when it comes to actually diagramming plays or defenses. In the close western conference this year, those deficiencies add up to big problems as better coach teams are able to take advantage of the Clippers. How else do you explain a team that has DeAndre Jordan ranking only 17th in defense? Yet the Clippers do and they need to find a way to get around it if they want to be real title contenders.
The Bottom Line:
Portland wins if: They limit LA’s 3 point makes. The Clippers are going to get their dunks in but dunks alone will not win them games. If Portland can limit their 3 point effectiveness, they should win Wednesday.
LA Clippers win if: They are the first to 100 points. Yes Lawler’s law is dumb but the fact is that Lawler’s law has gone 32-2 in Clippers games so far this year. Also the Clippers stink at coming from behind late so if they want to win they need to be the first to 100 on Wednesday.