Team Records: Portland (33-47) at LA Clippers (54-26)
Game Info: 7:30 PM-TV on TNT, Radio on 1190 AM and 102.3 FM.
Vegas Line: LA Clippers -14
Refs: Ron Garretson, Sean Corbin, Eric Dalen
The Skinny: The Blazers face their final road game of the season as they travel to LA to take on the first-time division champ Clippers. The Clippers are still fighting for playoff positioning, needing a win to maintain control of home court advantage in the first round.
Last Time They Met: The Clippers got revenge for a loss the previous night in the second half of a home and home as they pulled away from Portland early and coasted to an easy win.
Projected Clippers Lineup:
PF-Blake Griffin (Oklahoma-3rd Season) 18.2 PPG, 8.4 RPG, 3.8 APG.
SF-Caron Butler- (Connecticut-11th Season)-10.3 PPG, 2.9 RPG, 1 APG.
C-DeAndre Jordan (Texas A&M-5th Season)-8.8 PPG, 7.2 RPG, .4 APG
SG-Willie Green (Detroit Mercy-10th Season)-6.3 PPG, 1.3 RPG, .8 APG.
PG-Chris Paul (Wake Forest-8th Season)-17 PPG, 3.8 RPG, 9.6 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?: The Clippers won their first-ever division title this year.
Song of the Day: “More Than a Feeling” by Boston. In honor of the victims of Monday’s Boston bombings, it seemed appropriate to play the signature song of one of that city’s best known bands. Enjoy:
Portland: Out-SG Elliot Williams (Achilles), Doubtful- SF Nicolas Batum (Shoulder), SG Wesley Matthews (Ankle), PG Nolan Smith (Knee), Questionable-PF LaMarcus Aldridge (Ankle).
LA Clippers: Questionable-PG Chauncey Billups (Groin).
Re-Evaluating the Clippers: Living in the Shadow of the Lakers
When the Clippers won their first-ever division title recently, 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 last season, 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 score 100 points. The Blazers often struggle offensively on the road. Still if they can somehow get to 100 points, it should be enough to get the win.
LA Clippers win if: They make their 3s. When the Clippers make their 3s they are nearly impossible to beat.