The Portland Trail Blazers have already lost two games this season to the LA Clippers. This Wednesday, the Blazers will get their last chance of beating the Clippers this regular season. Will they be able to pull that off? Or, will the Clippers sweep Portland?
Catch this game live on Wednesday, April 21, at 10 AM, Manila time
HOME TEAM: Portland Trail Blazers (32-24, 16-12 at home)
Projected Starting Five:
- SG: CJ McCollum
- SF: Norman Powell
- SF: Rondae Hollis-Jefferson
- PF: Robert Covington
- C: Enes Kanter
The Blazers are in dire need of a shot in the arm after losing to the Charlotte Hornets, 109-101, on the road last Monday. Unfortunately for Portland, it’s not going to get that from Damian Lillard this Wednesday, as Dame has been ruled out for the Clippers game due to a hamstring problem.
This will be the third game in a row where Lillard will be absent, which also means another heavy workload for CJ McCollum. The Lehigh product had 22 points on a salty 8-22 shooting in the loss to Charlotte, but the Blazers got a pleasant surprise from future Hall of Famer Carmelo Anthony, who had 24 points with six 3-pointers off the bench.
Portland needs Melo to keep his guns hot and firing, especially with Lillard unavailable. The Blazers will also be missing Jusuf Nurkic (right knee) for the meeting with the Clippers.
However, the Blazers have a solid backup for him in the form of Enes Kanter, who averaged 11.5 points and 12.5 rebounds in the previous two meetings with the Clippers. The Under is 6-1 in the Blazers’ last seven home games.
ROAD TEAM: LA Clippers (40-19, 17-11 on the road)
Projected Starting Five:
- PG: Reggie Jackson
- SG: Paul George
- SF: Kawhi Leonard
- SF: Marcus Morris Sr.
- C: Ivica Zubac
The Clippers vented their frustrations from a loss to the Philadelphia 76ers last Saturday on the Minnesota Timberwolves, whom they beat at home on Monday, 124-105. No surprises there, as the Clippers were huge favorites in that game, especially with both Paul George and Kawhi Leonard playing.
The hope for Clippers fans is that George and Leonard will play together this Wednesday, but since this date with Portland is the first leg of a back-to-back set for the Clippers, there’s a chance that at least one of them would be rested.
Nevertheless, the Clippers are looking forward to torching Portland’s defense that’s 25th in the NBA with 114.7 points allowed per contest. The Clippers know all about Portland’s problematic defense. In the two games against the Blazers, the Clippers have averaged a whopping 130.5 points on 50.5 FG% and 43.0 3FG%. It must be smelling like chicken barbecue again for the Clippers’ attack.
The Clippers are 5-0 against the spread in their last five games against Portland.
Spread: I don’t expect the undermanned Blazers to win, but I’m also not falling for the spread trap. Take the Blazers to cover (+8).
Over/Under: Even without Lillard and Nurkic, the Blazers are capable of scoring in bunches, while the Clippers will surely take advantage of Portland’s barely existent defense. Take the Over (226.5).