LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS (3-2)
at PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS (2-2)
Tip-off: Thursday, 10:35 p.m. ET
Line: Los Angeles -1, Total: 201.5
The Trail Blazers are aiming for a big home win against the Clippers on Thursday to once again get themselves over .500 early on in this NBA season.
Portland has a lot of talent on its young squad and has played with great tenacity to make up for some poor shooting (38.9% FG in past three games). The Clippers could be tired, as this will be their third game in four days, but they didn't show any fatigue in a 22-point blowout of the Spurs on Wednesday night, as they shot 55.4% FG and outrebounded San Antonio 46-29.
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The Clippers looked great Wednesday night against the Spurs, making more than 50% of their shots for third time in five games this season. Seven players scored in double-figures as they were able to get up-and-down the floor and convert many easy baskets, outscoring the Spurs 54-32 with points in the paint. Big men Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan both had 20/10 nights, combining for 42 points, 21 rebounds and a +52 rating, while Chris Paul dished out 12 assists with just one turnover. Jamal Crawford had his fifth straight double-digit scoring night off the bench as he's averaging 21.2 PPG on 52% FG so far this season.
The Blazers, on the other hand, are coming off a brutal 114-91 loss against the Mavericks on Monday. Rookie PG Damian Lillard, who had 21.3 PPG and 9.0 APG in his first three games, finished with just 13 points and five assists, shooting 2-of-13 from the floor and 1-for-8 from three-point range. Lillard will need to let those types of games go if he’s going to be a superstar in this league and he should be able to get back on track, as he is a very tough player. Outside of Lillard and LaMarcus Aldridge (22.0 PPG, 9.0 RPG), who is always a handful to guard in the paint, the Blazers will also need significant contributions from Nicolas Batum and Wes Matthews who are far better scorers when playing in front of their home fans as opposed to on the road. Batum scored 26 points in Portland this year, but has just 11.3 PPG (34% FG) on the road, while Matthews shot 64% FG at home, but just 41.7% FG in away games.