Sitting at 3-2 in the midst of a weighty nine-game homestand, the L.A. Clippers (33-18) will put their budding defensive prowess to the test against Damian Lillard and the sharpshooting Portland Trail Blazers (30-19) Tuesday. Read on for our full Clippers vs. Trail Blazers game preview.
Clippers vs. Trail Blazers Game Information
Where: Staples Center, Los Angeles, California
When: 7 p.m. PT
How to Watch: Bally Sports SoCal, AM 570 L.A. Sports, 1330 AM Tu Liga
Projected Starting Lineups:
L.A. Clippers: Reggie Jackson – Paul George – Kawhi Leonard – Marcus Morris Sr. – Ivica Zubac
Portland Trail Blazers: Damian Lillard – CJ McCollum – Norman Powell – Robert Covington – Enes Kanter
L.A. Clippers: Serge Ibaka – OUT (Lower Back Tightness), Patrick Beverley – QUESTIONABLE (Right Knee Soreness)
Portland Trail Blazers: Zach Collins – OUT (Left Ankle Stress Fracture), Jusuf Nurkić – OUT (Right Knee Inflammation), Derrick Jones Jr. – PROBABLE (Right Quad Contusion)
The Big Picture
Coming off of a silent, but sound win over the hobbled Los Angeles Lakers, the Clippers will be thrown right into the fire against two other Western Conference playoff-caliber teams in the Blazers and Phoenix Suns. Not to look too far ahead in advance, but securing two strong victories here—with the Houston Rockets and Detroit Pistons entering town next—could have Clipper Nation feeling very upbeat by the end of the week.
L.A. will look to make a repeat of its first regular season meeting with the Blazers back on Dec. 30, in which the Clippers celebrated a 128-105 home victory after the reveal of masked Kawhi. Leonard has scored at least 27 points in four of his last five games against Portland, and has seen the Clippers win four straight against them since November 2019.
The Trail Blazers are coming into STAPLES Center scorching hot after knocking down at least 20 threes in two consecutive games. On Saturday, Portland notched its largest win in the Moda Center and second-largest margin of victory in franchise history with a 133-85 rout over the Oklahoma City Thunder. Portland is second in the NBA both in threes made per game
(16.3) and attempts from deep per game (42.6).
It appears both teams will be missing their starting centers as the Blazers announced that Jusuf Nurkić will be sitting this one out. Although Nurkić has struggled mightily this season after a renaissance showing in the bubble, his absence is sure to be felt Tuesday with backup Enes Kanter playing extended minutes on the defensive end. Fortunately for Portland, the only NBA team whose percentage of points in the paint is second to last to them at 32% happens to be the Clippers (37%).
Clippers vs. Trail Blazers Game Notes
- Slowing Down (Dame) Time: Since the insertions of Ivica Zubac and Marcus Morris Sr. into L.A.’s starting lineup on March 15, the Clippers have been one of the top defensive teams in the NBA. Over their last 11 games, the Clippers are second in opponent points allowed (100.5), second in opponent points in the paint (41.3) and fifth in defensive rating (105.7). Damian Lillard currently places second in points per game (29.6), first in total points scored (1,375) and first in 30-plus point games this season (27).
- Charity Stripe Champs: With the Clippers (84.0%) and Trail Blazers (83.3%) leading the NBA in terms of free throw percentage this season, don’t expect to see many freebies left on the board in this matchup.
- The New Guys: While catching the presumed debut of DeMarcus Cousins and the second stretch of Rajon Rondo is sure to be fun, Portland’s trade deadline acquisition of Norman Powell is poised to move the needle the most. A championship teammate of Kawhi Leonard and Serge Ibaka from their Toronto run, Powell ranks 11th in the NBA in 3-point percentage (44.0%) and has averaged 15.2 PPG on 45.6 FG% in his first five games as a Blazer.
- All Eyes on Mr. 94 Feet: At the time of writing, the Clippers have listed Patrick Beverley as questionable for Tuesday’s contest. If Pat Bev is able to go, it would be his first live game minutes in nearly a month.
Feel free to stick around and chat down below as this article’s comment section will serve as our live game thread tonight against the Portland Trail Blazers. Sign up for a free account and join the conversation!
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