Team Records: Portland (36-16) at LA Clippers (36-18)
Game Info: 7:30 PM-TV on CSNNW, Radio on 620 AM
Vegas Line: LA Clippers -9
Refs: Bennett Salvatore, Kevin Scott, Sean Wright
The Skinny: The Blazers look to bounce back from a tough loss Tuesday against OKC as they play the Clippers in the final game before the all-star break. Portland would secure the all-important tiebreaker over the Clippers with a win as the teams play only three times this year. The Clippers are just 3-3 in their last six games but recently got all-star PG Chris Paul back from injury.
Last Time They Met: Aldridge hit a shot to put Portland up 1 with 39 seconds left in OT that proved to be the difference as Portland outlasted the Clippers in a OT thriller. Portland overcame a combined 69 points from Paul and Griffin in the win.
Projected Clippers Lineup:
PF-Blake Griffin (Oklahoma-4th Season)-23.9 PPG, 9.8 RPG, 3.6 APG.
SF-Matt Barnes (UCLA-11th Season)-7.4 PPG, 4.2 RPG, 1.7 APG.
C-DeAndre Jordan (Texas A&M-6th Season)-10 PPG, 14.1 RPG, .9 APG
SG-Jamal Crawford (Michigan-14th Season)-18.4 PPG, 2.3 RPG, 3.3 APG.
PG-Chris Paul (Wake Forest-9th Season)-19.2 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 11.1 APG.
Player to Watch-Chris Paul (pictured at right) – There is a reason Chris Paul is jokingly referred to by some as the “Point God”, he’s simply the best point guard in the game today. CP3 is pretty much great at everything he does, whether it is ball handling, passing, shooting or forcing steals. About the only thing he doesn’t do extremely well is rebound, but considering that he has Jordan and Griffin on this team, that is hardly a problem. You can think you have him beat only to watch Chris Paul pull out some weird jujitsu that makes you look on in awe. If the Clippers are going to make any sort of playoff run, it will be because of CP3.
Did You Know?: Chris Paul is likely to hit a milestone tonight as he is only 17 points away from 11,000 career points.
Song of the Day: “God Bless My SUV” by the Capitol Steps-An appropriate song to mock LA’s beloved car culture. Enjoy:
Portland: Out-PF/C Joel Freeland (Knee)
LA Clippers: Questionable-SG JJ Reddick (Hip)
Re-Evaluating the Clippers: Living in the Shadow of the Lakers
When the Clippers won their first-ever division title last year, their fans rightly celebrated but were perhaps just as rightly mocked by the Lakers, who pointed out that they had won sixteen NBA titles and that their fellow Staples Center occupants really hadn’t accomplished much. While it is true that the Clippers will never equal the Lakers history, their winning tradition, or even their vaunted “celebrity row”, they should take pride in living in the moment and perhaps take a little guide from Manchester City of the EPL. When City won its first ever premier league title a few years ago, their fans reveled in the rare moment where they put one over on the most successful club in world soccer history, Manchester United, which had won twelve Premier League titles. To City fans, and to Clippers fans should they ever win one, it did not matter that their rival had more of a winning tradition than they could ever hope to achieve, what mattered is that at that time, in that moment, they were on top of their sport and could finally look down on their far more heralded rivals.
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.
LA Clippers win if: They hold Portland under 100. If the Clips can keep Portland under the century mark, they should win.