Clippers-Trail Blazers Preview

Riddled with injuries, the Portland Trail Blazers can’t afford

to take teams lightly. The Los Angeles Clippers, meanwhile, have

proven that they will gladly take advantage of clubs that might

underestimate them.

A subpar performance ended what was an outstanding four-game run

for the Trail Blazers, who look to bounce back Wednesday night

against a Clippers team coming off its best game of the season.

With a nucleus thinned by injury, notably centers Greg Oden

(knee) and Joel Przybilla (knee), Portland was outscored 60-40 in

the paint in a 104-93 loss to Philadelphia on Monday night.

After wins over Denver, San Antonio, Dallas and Miami, the

Blazers (20-13) lacked a sense of urgency versus the 76ers, who had

lost 16 of 18.

“We know we have to play at a high level to win,” Portland

swingman Brandon Roy told the Blazers’ official Web site.

Roy was one of the few bright spots for the Blazers, posting 24

points after scoring 41 in a 107-96 win over the Nuggets on Friday

night. Roy has scored at least 23 points in 13 straight games,

giving him the NBA’s longest active streak of 20-point games.

Los Angeles (13-17), meanwhile, got an outstanding effort from

its top guard. Baron Davis hit a fallaway 22-foot jumper at the

buzzer in the Clippers’ 92-90 win over Boston on Sunday night.

Davis finished with 24 points and 13 assists as Los Angeles

snapped a three-game losing streak with a victory over one of the

league’s top teams. The Clippers tied it with 8.5 seconds left when

Rasual Butler hit a 3-pointer off a pass from Davis.

“Every time I get in that situation, I feel like I can make that

shot,” said Davis, who helped the Clippers erase an 11-point

deficit. “You’ve just got to prepare your mind for it when you go

out there to take that shot.”

Chris Kaman, meanwhile, gave the Clippers yet another strong

performance, posting 27 points and 12 rebounds, and his presence

inside is what will likely most concern the Blazers and their

banged-up frontcourt. The 7-footer is averaging 24.4 points and

11.0 rebounds in his last five games.

“Baron is delivering the ball in a timely fashion. With Kaman

down low we have so many options,” Los Angeles coach Mike Dunleavy

said. “They have really worked on their timing and ability to play

together. Kaman is an assist waiting to happen – he is a threat.

When they work together, they create difficulty for the other


Marcus Camby gives Los Angeles another strong post player, but

he didn’t play against Boston. His status is questionable after

aggravating his hyperextended left knee in a 124-93 loss to Phoenix

on Friday night.

DeAndre Jordan made his first start of the season in place of

Camby, and the 6-11 forward had a season-high eight rebounds and

three blocks.

Kaman missed three of the Clippers’ four games against the

Blazers last season due to various injuries, and Portland won the

series 3-1.