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
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
Kaman missed three of the Clippers’ four games against the
Blazers last season due to various injuries, and Portland won the