Heading up to Portland tonight

November 9th, 2012

 

The Los Angeles Clippers travel to Portland to face the well-rested Trail Blazers on Thursday. The Clippers dominated San Antonio for a 106-84 home win on Wednesday. Blake Griffin (22 points, 10 rebounds), DeAndre Jordan (20 points, 11 rebounds) and Chris Paul (10 points, 12 assists) all had double-doubles as the Clippers handed the Spurs their first loss of the season. The lopsided win allowed coach Vinny Del Negro to rest his key players.

Portland hasn’t played since Monday when it dropped a 114-91 decision at the Dallas Mavericks House. Rookie guard Damian Lillard has been one of the early season surprises in the league. Lillard, the No. 6 overall pick in the draft from Weber State, is second on the team in scoring with a 19.3 average. LaMarcus Aldridge is scoring 22 points a game to lead the Trail Blazers.

TV: 10:30 p.m. ET, TNT.

ABOUT THE TRAIL BLAZERS (2-2): Portland has been outscored in the fourth quarter of each game so the Trail Blazers are fortunate to be .500. The least productive bench in the NBA has a lot to do with the problems. Portland’s reserves have combined to score 51 points in four games. Rookie center Meyers Leonard, who has scored 14 points, and small forward Sasha Pavlovic, who has 10, are the only bench players to reach double figures for the season. Portland was outscored 31-12 in the fourth quarter of Monday’s loss.

ABOUT THE CLIPPERS (3-2): Injuries have played a major role in the early going for Los Angeles. Griffin, the Clippers’ All-Star forward, has been playing with a ruptured bursa sac in his right elbow and a strained neck. He’s averaging 17.4 points and 8.4 rebounds. Veterans Chauncey Billups and Grant Hill have yet to play. Billups is still recovering from Achilles’ tendon surgery last season while Hill has a bone bruise in his right knee. Jamal Crawford, who went into Wednesday averaging 24 points a game, was held to 10 against San Antonio.

BUZZER BEATERS

1. The Clippers won three of the four meetings last season.

2. Portland held a 23-2 advantage in offensive rebounds against Dallas, but lost the game by 23 points.

3. Los Angeles committed 15 turnovers Wednesday after turning the ball over 25 times in Monday’s loss to Cleveland.

PREDICTION: Trail Blazers 101, Clippers 90.

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