Coming off yet another embarrassing loss, the Clippers have a must-win game on the road against the Blazers, one of the worst teams in the NBA.

Game Information

Where: Moda Center, Portland, Oregon

When: 7:00 PM PT

How to Watch: Bally Sports SoCal, AM 570

Tickets: For great deals on Clippers tickets, check out Barry’s Tickets!

Projected Starting Lineups

Clippers: James Harden – Terance Mann – Paul George – Kawhi Leonard – Ivica Zubac

Blazers: Scoot Henderson – Anfernee Simons – Toumani Camara – Kris Murray – DeAndre Ayton

Injuries

Clippers: Russell Westbrook Out (Hand), Norm Powell Questionable (Ankle)

Blazers: Robert Williams Out (Knee), Shaedon Sharpe Out (Abdomen), Malcolm Brogdon Out (Elbow), Jerami Grant Doubtful (Hamstring), Matisse Thybulle Questionable (Ankle)

The Big Picture

The Clippers have continued to fade over the second half of the season, with injuries, tired legs on an old roster, roster issues, and sheer lack of effort combining for a brutal brew that has slowed the Clipperson offense and made them one of the worst defenses in the NBA. They are now just a single loss ahead of the Pelicans for 4th, and well out of the top three seeds, a precipitous slide in just a few weeks. The injuries are not controllable, nor is the age of the roster, but the Clippers simply need to have more urgency and energy in these games. Losses to good teams when fighting hard (like that Pelicans game) are excusable, if worrying. Blowouts at the hands of the Hawks with zero resistance on defense are not. The Clippers need to shape up, and do it quickly.

The Antagonist

The Blazers are in their first year of their rebuild post Damian Lillard and it has been a slog, with their 19-49 record placing 5th worst in the NBA. Prized rookie Scoot Henderson has missed some games with injury, and when he’s played he’s mostly been very bad – though somewhat better in the past few months. Second-year guard Shaedon Sharpe has missed half the season and is probably going to finish with just 32 games played. Robert Williams, one of the prizes of the Dame/Jrue Holiday trades, played in just six games before going out to injury. The bright spots have been few, with Toumani Camara flashing some real defensive chops as a rookie, Jabari Walker taking a step forward in his second season, and DeAndre Ayton playing well the past few weeks. The Blazers are young and athletic, but very, very bad, especially when their vets such as Grant and Brogdon are out.

Notes

Just Win: While I’d love to see the Clippers actually play well, at this point they just need to get some wins to stay afloat in the standings. It doesn’t need to be pretty, but this game against the Blazers and the follow-up on Friday are two of the easiest games left on their schedule, and are therefore must-wins. Stringing together two wins, even against such a poor quality opponent, could go a bit of a ways towards getting the Clippers back into a groove.

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