Projected Starters: Portland: PG Dame Dollah, SG 3J McCullum, SF Al-Faraq Aminu, PF Noah Vonleh, C Plumdog Millionaire
Clippers: PG CP3, SG Jamal Crawful, SF Paul Pierce, PF Blake Griffin, C DeAndre Jordan
Referees: Bill Kennedy, Kane Fitzgerald, Dedric Taylor
Injury Report: Meyers Leonard (out, left shoulder), JJ Redick (doubtful, back spasms)
Player to Watch: Blake Griffin (pictured below but not as far down as the comments), the fiery power forward has become arguably the best power forward in the game and undenaibly the best offensive power forward in the game. Griffin has always been a spectacular face-up player but his recently found ability to consistently knock down the mid-range jumpers has stretched defenses to their limit. A career 38% shooter from 16′ to the 3 point line he is now shooting 49% from that same distance. While the 49% rate may not be sustainable it is clear from watching him play that the has made great strides in developing his mid range game. Combining Griffin’s improved shooting with his ability to put the ball on the floor and his elite passing ability creates a player you can only hope to slow. Look for him to destroy the Blazers middling frontcourt.
Portland win if: Portlands only hope in this match up is to shoot lights out. 3J draws the better match up in Jamal Crawford but Dame must also make CP3 work in order to tire him out. If Dame and 3J both go for 20+ on 50%+ shooting they might have a chance in this one.
Clippers win if: Clippers win this one if they play their game. Use their size advantage inside and make the extra pass to find the open guy.