It’s a battle between a pair of Western Conference foes, one looking to maintain their lead in their division and the other fighting to get back in the playoff picture, in the City of Angels. The Portland Trail Blazers are on the road as they travel to face the LA Clippers Sunday night. Portland was in action on Saturday night as they hosted the Pistons Saturday night. LA dropped their second straight with a 121-113 road loss to the Thunder Friday night. The Trail Blazers lead the all-time regular season series between the teams 142-77 but the teams split two matchups earlier this season: Portland took a 104-96 win here in the last matchup on January 30.
Portland Trail Blazers Look to Maintain Hold on Northwest Division Lead
Portland was in action at home as they hosted Detroit in an inter-conference tilt Saturday night. The Trail Blazers entered that game on an 11 game win streak after they dispatched the Cavaliers 113-105 in their last contest. Portland entered Saturday third in the Western Conference, 12 games behind the Rockets for the top spot. The Trail Blazers held a 1.5 game lead over the Thunder in the Northwest Division but were just 4.5 games ahead of the ninth-place Nuggets in the playoff picture. Portland is 18-15 on the road and 25-15 against the Western Conference so far this season.
The Trail Blazers come into this one 15th in the league in scoring with 105.9 points per game. The Trail Blazers are 3rd in the league in rebounding as they collect 45.3 boards a night. Portland is 30th in the league in assists with 19.3 per contest. The Trail Blazers are above average defensively as they come in 5th in the league by allowing 103.1 points a night. Damian Lillard is leading the team in scoring for the Blazers as he rings up 26.8 points per game while dishing out 6.6 assists per contest. CJ McCollum (21.8 points) and Maurice Harkless are both veteran options for the Blazers. Al-Farouq Aminu (9.1 points, 7.3 rebounds), Jusuf Nurkic (14.1 points, 8.6 rebounds), Pat Connaughton, Ed Davis, Meyers Leonard, Shabazz Napier and Evan Turner (8.1 points, 3.3 rebounds) all contribute solidly on the offensive end for Portland’s attack. Portland is tied for 20th in the league in field goal percentage by shooting 45.2 percent from the floor. The Trail Blazers are knocking down 10.5 three pointers a night, which is tied for 15th in the league, while ranking 2nd in the league by shooting 38 percent from downtown.
LA Clippers Chasing Final Playoff Spot in West
LA has struggled with back to back losses to finish a three game road trip 1-2. The losses came at a bad time as the Clippers dropped 1.5 games behind the Spurs for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference entering Saturday. LA led by three after the opening quarter but once Patrick Patterson hit a three early in the second quarter, they never led again in the contest. The Clippers shot 48.8 percent from the field and knocked down 11 of 26 three point attempts in the game. LA was hurt by 21 turnovers in the contest: Tobias Harris led the team with 24 points, five rebounds and six assists in the loss.
The Clippers are currently 7th in the league in scoring offense with 109.3 points per game. LA is 12th in the league in rebounding with 44.1 boards per game and stand 21st in assists with 22.3 per contest. The Clippers are mediocre defensively, ranking 22nd in scoring defense by allowing 108.1 points per game. Tobias Harris (18.8 points, 5.6 boards) and Avery Bradley (14.3 points) were acquired from Detroit in the Blake Griffin deal and are key components of the Clippers’ rotation. Bradley is currently out after surgery for a sports hernia: he had a second surgery to repair two core muscles and is likely out for the rest of the regular season. DeAndre Jordan puts up 12.1 points and 15.4 rebounds per night. Lou Williams (22.9 points, 5.4 assists) and Danilo Gallinari (15.9 points, 4.9 rebounds) are solid offensive weapons for Doc Rivers. Gallinari returned after missing 25 games with a glute injury against the Trail Blazers on January 30: he has a broken hand and Is out again, having played just 19 games this season. Patrick Beverley (12.2 points, 1.73 steals) is likely done for the year after microfracture surgery. Boban Marjanovic, Austin Rivers (15.6 points), Montrezl Harrell, Tyrone Wallace, Sam Dekker, Wesley Johnson and Milos Teodosic are good rotation players for the Clippers. LA is tied for 7th in the league in field goal percentage as they shoot 47.1 percent from the floor. The Clippers are tied for 21st in three pointers a game with 9.8 per contest and 25th in three point shooting as they hit 35.1 percent of their long range attempts.
- Trail Blazers are 7-0 ATS in their last 7 games vs. a team with a winning straight up record
- Trail Blazers are 6-1 ATS in their last 7 vs. NBA Pacific
- Trail Blazers are 12-3-1 ATS in their last 16 vs. Western Conference
- Clippers are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 vs. NBA Northwest
- Clippers are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 home games vs. a team with a winning road record
The Trail Blazers have been rolling along right now and while they’re playing the second game of a back to back, it’s hard to go against a team with so much momentum. LA is back home after playing three straight on the road and they’re right back on the road after this one again. The Clippers are playing with a bunch of role players for the most part after dealing Griffin and seeing other guys go down to injuries. In the end, Portland is a dangerous team right now and they get the upper hand, even on the road. Look for the Trail Blazers to prevail here.
Pick: Portland Trail Blazers +2
Portland has won 11 in a row heading into Saturday night’s game and while they are playing the second game of a back to back, they have the momentum of a hot stretch of play. Both teams are playing their third game in four nights in this contest, which could affect the teams. The Clippers are particularly vulnerable because they don’t have those stars to carry a team through tough stretches like the Trail Blazers do with McCollum and Lillard. The Clippers are on the outside looking in for the playoff picture at this point: can they find a way to push back onto the right side of the fence?
The under is 4-0 in the Trail Blazers’ last 4 road games vs. a team with a winning home record, 5-1 in their last 6 road games and 5-2 in their last seven on the road. LA has seen the under go 8-3 in their last 11 against teams with a winning record. The teams have gone under the total in seven of the last nine meetings here in LA: with both teams a bit worn down, this one likely falls short of the total as well.