The winless LA Clippers are coming up against the 1-1 Portland Trail Blazers at the Staples Center. Can the rest of the Clippers finally help Paul George get a win?
Catch this game live on October 26, at 10:30 AM, Manila time.
Away: Portland Trail Blazers (1-1, 0-0 Away)
Projected Starting Five:
- PG: Damian Lillard
- SG: CJ McCollum
- SF: Normal Powell
- PF: Robert Covington
- C: Jusuf Nurkic
The Blazers saw themselves with a surprise defeat against the Sacramento Kings in their opening game, but then recovered by defeating the Phoenix Suns 134-105. They’re relying heavily at the moment on CJ McCollum’s strong start, as he’s averaging 31.0 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 3.0 APG, 2.0 SPG and 2.0 BPG with 3.5 TOPG. He’s been super efficient too, currently boasting a 32.86 PER. He’s doing this while shooting 55.8% from the field and 54.5% from three.
His superstar backcourt partner, Damian Lillard, has had a bit of a slower start to the season, especially on the scoring front. Lillard is averaging 19.5 PPG, 3.5 RPG and 9.5 APG while shooting 40% from the field and an uncharacteristic 12.5% from deep.
Norman Powell’s been quietly efficient too with 15.0 PPG while shooting 52.9% from the field and 42.9% from the three. The question for the Blazers is whether or not Lillard can finally get it going, as he’s still their centerpiece on offense and the team plays much better with him shooting the three ball well.
One key battle to watch is between Jusuf Nurkic and Ivica Zubac. Nurkic feasted on the Kings on opening night, and though he didn’t score in double digits against Phoenix, he had 9 points, 12 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals. If he can help stop second-chance possessions with his rebounding, the Blazers have a much better chance of winning the game.
Portland are 1-1 ATS so far this season, and 2-0-0 against the Over/Under.
Home: LA Clippers (0-2, 0-1 Home)
Projected Starting Five:
- PG: Reggie Jackson
- SG: Eric Bledsoe
- SF: Paul George
- PF: Marcus Morris Sr.
- C: Ivica Zubac
Man, Paul George needs to get some help. He is balling like a potential MVP candidate, but it’s really clear that they need Kawhi Leonard to compete for a title. George had 41 points in their 120-114 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies and is averaging 35.0 PPG, 10.5 RPG, 5.0 APG and 2.0 SPG in his first two games with a ridiculous PER of 47.84.
Unfortunately, their second best scorer currently is putting up less than half of George’s points. That man is Eric Bledsoe, who’s having a bit of a resurgence in his return to the Clippers. He’s averaging 17.0 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 4.5 APG and leads the teams in steals and blocks at 2.5 SPG and 1.5 BPG.
Reggie Jackson, who was a killer in the playoffs, is yet to find his form, as he’s averaging 14.0 PPG but shooting 30.6% from the field and 35.3% from three. Marcus Morris Sr., one of the best three-point shooters in the NBA last season, has struggled in his first two games, averaging 9.5 points and 27.3% from beyond the arc.
Someone to watch may be Isaiah Hartenstein, who is averaging 11.0 PPG, 3.0 RPG and 4.0 APG in only 16 minutes per game. If he keeps playing strong, he could eventually replace Ivica Zubac in the starting lineup.
The Clippers are 1-1-0 ATS, and 1-1-0 against the Over/Under.
Spread: The Clippers will be dangerous, especially because of their two close losses to start the season, so they’re not going to make it easy for Portland. I think LA cover -3.
Over/Under: I think Dame comes back to his usual self while some of the Clippers’ shooters also rediscover their stroke. I’m taking the over 232.