2021-04-07
Portland Trail Blazers
Los Angeles Clippers
League : NBA

Los Angeles Clippers vs Portland Trail Blazers Prediction & Preview



 

Image licensed from USA Today Sports

 

The Portland Trail Blazers travel to the Staples Center in Los Angeles for a Tuesday night matchup versus the Los Angeles Clippers. Currently, the Clippers are 5.5-point favorites while the total stands at 226-points and has not moved since the opening.

The Trail Blazers were able to get back on track after a double-digit home loss to the Milwaukee Bucks last Friday night by picking up a blowout victory in the 2nd of a back to back over the Oklahoma City Thunder at the Moda Center Saturday night. Portland was able to jump out to a 16-point advantage after the opening period while never looking back as the team shot 49% while nailing 20 3-pointers. In all, the Trail Blazers ended the game with a total of 8 players in double-digits with CJ McCollum leading with 20 points while shooting 50% on 8 attempts from deep. Damian Lillard finished with 16 points and 6 dimes while Enes Kantor came off the bench to post a double-double (12 points, 17 rebounds). Portland was able to cover as 12.5-point favorites and are 3-1 ATS in their last 4 outings.

The Clippers halted a 2-game skid in their matchup versus the Los Angeles Lakers Sunday night as Kawhi Leonard came 2 assists shy of a triple-double with 19 points, 10 boards, along with 8 dimes. Paul George, despite 5 turnovers, had 16 in the contest on 6-14 shooting while Marcus Morris, Sr. went 4-5 from deep to lead with 22 points and 7 rebounds as the Clippers won their 32nd of the season. The shorthanded Lakers had only one starter in double-digits in Marc Gasol with 11 while the remaining 4-starters shot a combined 12-41 FG along with 2-16 3FG. Los Angeles has won 7 of 9 entering this contest while covering in 7 of their last 9 as well, including as 10.5-point favorites versus the Lakers.

The Clippers seek their 5th-straight win over the Trail Blazers and 4th-straight at Staples. The team has not only dominated the spread in recent matchups (5-2 in last 7 overall), but are 3-0 against the number in their last 3 at home versus Portland.

 

Portland seeks to string together some wins

The Trail Blazers are in the thick of things within the Western Conference playoff standings currently residing in the 6th-place slot. In fact, if the postseason began today, their 1st-round opponent will be none other than the 3rd-seeded Clippers. And while this matchup has not been kind to Portland judging by the results of recent matchups, it is a fact that the team has re-gained its consistency on the offensive end due to the return of McCollum after the All-Star break.

 

The guard has really come on of late posting 20 or more in all but one of his last 6 starts while the Blazers are averaging 124 since his return from injury. Lillard continues to bring it on a nightly basis and has posted 30+ in 2 of his last 3 while newly acquired Norman Powell has also been consistent in provided an added offensive option (44% from long-range/19 ppg), particularly after the team traded away Gary Trent, Jr. before the trade deadline. Kantor has been moved to the bench now that Jusuf Nurkic is back in the lineup; However, the center has continued to provide solid minutes while posting his 4th double-double in 7 games versus the Thunder.

However, while their Big-2 in Lillard and McCollum posted 20 or more in the team's last matchup versus the Clippers December of last year, the former struggled finishing just 3-14 from the field along with 0-8 from deep (4 turnovers). McCollum was red-hot from long-distance connecting on 7-11 shots while leading the way with 25. Kantor came off the bench to post a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds while Nurkic went just 2-4 for 4 points. Powell did not suit up as the team shot just 42% FG along with 32% from 3-point range while committing 17 turnovers. Important to note that Portland are averaging 106 points in their last 4 versus Los Angeles.

 

Morris, Sr. shines in win over Lakers

Morris, Sr. posted just 8-points in a 7-point home loss versus the Denver Nuggets last Thursday night; Yet, was able to rebound to post 20+ in the team's 18-point win over the Lakers at Staples Sunday night, his 3rd 20+ point performance in his last 5 starts. The forward continues to stretch defenses with his ability to drain the 3-pointer as he is making 47% on the year. Despite the win, however, the are only a half-game ahead of the Lakers for 3rd in the West while also being 3 games behind the 2nd-seeded Phoenix Suns. In other words, the Clippers must continue to get solid performances from the forward, particularly with George currently dealing with a lingering toe injury.

 

George was diagnosed with bone edema recently which has certainly hampered his leaping ability. In fact, while the forward was averaging 24 points per game before his diagnosis, he is now posting just under 20 points per since. In fact, he is averaging just 17 points per in his last 6 starts as his shooting percentages have fallen to 46% FG along with 42% from long-range. Nonetheless, Leonard continues to pick up the slack on both ends posting double-doubles in each of his last 2 while racking up 4 steals during this time. Rajon Rondo suited up for his Clippers debut versus the Lakers going just 1-3 for 2 points (3 assists) and will be counted on moving forward to provide a lift to a Clippers team whose scoring has certainly taken a dip. However, its defense remains of the more solid units in the league in points allowed per game.

Leonard and George were outstanding in the team's blowout win over Portland last December posting 28 and 23 points, respectively, while combining for 7 of the team's 18 treys. George also recorded 10 rebounds while the duo each had 7 assists in the victory. Nicolas Batum, who has also struggled of late, finished with 11 points while equally struggling Reggie Jackson came off the bench to post 11 as well as the Clippers shot 49% FG along with 47% from deep.






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