Team Records: Portland (22-21) at Portland (32-13)
Game Info: 6:30 PM-TV on CSNNW, Radio on 1190 AM and 102.3 FM.
Vegas Line: LA Clippers -6.5
Refs: Mike Callahan, Matt Boland, Haywoode Workman
The Skinny: After winning in thrilling fashion Saturday night, Portland travels to LA to complete the back to back home and home vs. the Clippers. The Blazers will face a Clippers team that has now lost four in a row and is looking for revenge against the reenergized Blazers.
Last Time They Met: The Blazers closed the game on a 10-0 run to erase a 9 point Clippers lead and won a thriller at the Rose Garden. Batum got his second triple double of his career (and the second in five days) in the win.
Projected Clippers Lineup:
PF-Blake Griffin (Oklahoma-3rd Season) 18.1 PPG, 8.5 RPG, 3.4 APG.
SF-Caron Butler- (Connecticut-11th Season)-9.6 PPG, 2.7 RPG, 1 APG.
C-DeAndre Jordan (Texas A&M-5th Season)-8.8 PPG, 6.8 RPG, .4 APG
SG-Willie Green (Detroit Mercy-10th Season)-6.4 PPG, 1.5 RPG, .9 APG.
PG-Eric Bledsoe (Kentucky-3rd Season)-8.9 PPG, 3 RPG, 2.7 APG.
Player to Watch-Eric Bledsoe (pictured at right) – Bledsoe has seemingly been in the shadow of others his entire career, beginning at Kentucky, where he was behind John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins and in the NBA where he is overshadowed by Blake Griffin and Chris Paul. However, Bledsoe is a solid player in his own right and given his chance to play more this season, has flourished. A lighting fast guard with the ability to get to the rim, Bledsoe isn’t the most efficient scorer (although he is shooting a career high 46% this year) but he is relentless, even if he turns the ball over way too often. His real strength, however, is on defense, where he has a great feel for the game and can certainly at least make life difficult for the opposing point guard. He might not be a star but he is one to watch for sure.
Did You Know?: Last night’s game was the seventh all time meeting between Aldridge and Blake Griffin. Portland is 5-2 in those games.
Song of the Day: “Don’t Stop Believin’” by Journey-If there is an official theme song for this Blazers team it is this one. Enjoy:
Portland: Out-SG Elliot Williams (Achilles), SF Sasha Pavlovic (Foot).
LA Clippers: Out-PG Chauncey Billups (Foot), PF Trey Tompkins (Bone Bruise), Doubtful-PG Chris Paul (Knee).
Re-Evaluating the Clippers: Some Surprising Observations on Offense:
One would think that “Lob City” would be a fast-paced offense focused on accumulating points in bunches via easy lob dunks on fast breaks; however, they would be wrong. One of the most surprising things about the Clippers so far this season is that they are not a particularly fast-paced offense, as they only rank 14th overall. What they are is a highly efficient offense. Their offensive efficiency rating is a sizzling 106.9. The reason they are able to do this? They pass the ball to the right spot as well as anyone in the NBA, at least when Chris Paul is playing. As long as the Clippers don’t beat themselves by turning the ball over, they are tough to stop, if not exactly fast-paced, on the offensive end.
The Bottom Line:
Portland wins if: They score 100 points. The Blazers often struggle offensively on the road and following a thrilling win last night, they can be expected to perhaps struggle again. 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. Portland was much more effective and efficient from deep Saturday night. If that trend can be reversed, the Clippers should get their revenge and win Sunday.