Blazers/Clippers Pre-Game
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  1. DHawes22
    DHawes22
    Posts: 6488

    Posted 01/04/2010 11:25 AM


    The Portland Trail Blazers (22-13) head down to the Staples Center to face the Los Angeles Clippers (14-18) for their lone road game since the 23rd of December and until a January 18th road trip to the East coast. Portland defeated the Clippers less than a week ago at the Rose Garden, even without LaMarcus Aldridge, who is listed as out for tonight's game. Who they did have in their 103-99 win was Steve Blake and all he contributed were two clutch three pointers in the 4th quarter to help the Blazers prevail. Maybe more importantly than being without Blake, the Trail Blazers will not have the raucous Rose Garden crowd behind them, urging them on to victory. It will be interesting to see if they can take that energy with them on the road for one game.

    Outside of Portland going into a shooting slump, the major factor in this game is going to be Chris Kaman and Portland's ability to contain him. He was the main reason why I thought we could lose to the Clip Show last week and he didn't prove me wrong at all. 25 points (12-19), 9 rebounds, and 2 blocks were nearly enough for the Clippers, but he didn't receive enough contributions from his role players like Brandon Roy did. In all reality, Kaman will put up those numbers again tonight and Roy will match him, but it will come down to who's role players step up. Portland got 14 boards out of Pendergraph in relief of Aldridge, 15 from Martell, 14 and 8 dimes from Bayless, and 8 points from Dante Cunningham. On the other hand, out side of Eric Gordon's 24 points, no one decided to step up for LAC as Baron had a measly 12 points on 2-15 shooting and only one other Clipper, Al Thornton, scored in double figures with 11.

    Even with all of the big men out with injuries, Portland is still maintaining their top 3 status in the NBA in rebounding differential at +3.68. There may not be much we can do about Kaman in the paint, but we can rebound when/if he misses. Portland out-rebounded the Clippers by 7 less than a week ago, including 5 more offensive rebounds. When you are as depleted as our boys are right now, Basketball 101 says to win the battle under the boards is the #1 goal. Whenever you have less players or are a clear-cut underdog, to win the game, you must be more fundamentally sound in all aspects of the game. Most nights we have seen Portland go cold from the foul line or turn the ball over 20+ times, as seen in the opening night win over Houston, and still win the game but no longer can the Trail Blazers be below average in any category to win. With what we are dealt, we must play close to a perfect game every night to continue these victories.

    Just like the last time these two were about to match up with one another, I had a bad feeling going into the game. Ultimately, I picked the Trail Blazers last time, but without Steve and LaMarcus, winning on the road is going to prove to be too big of a task. Brandon will be Brandon again, but this time it will be the Clippers who get more help from the likes of Baron Davis, Al Thornton, and Marcus Camby while Portland may not see JP set a career high in rebounds or Juwan to continue his brilliance. The Blazers will keep it within striking distance the entire way but never come close enough to worry the Clippers.

    Game 36 Prediction: Trail Blazers 89 Clippers 101
    I am a fan of
  1. blazer003
    blazer003
    Posts: 27

    Posted 01/04/2010 4:29 PM

    I don't give the Clippers that much credit.

    Blazers 102, Clippers 91
    I am a fan of Winning in the playoffs despite all odds.
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