Hated Clippers roll into town as Portland looks to lock in on the three seed
A quick look back
What a week it was for Damian Lillard. The Trail Blazers all star guard dropped 41 points on Anthony Davis and the New Orleans Pelicans Tuesday night before flying back home for the birth of his first child, a boy named Damian Jr. In his absence, the Trail Blazers took on the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday night without Dame and also Maurice Harkless (due to injury).
Portland had five turnovers in the fourth quarter and lost to the struggling Grizzlies 108-103. The Trail Blazers did show a glimpse of light in the absence of Lillard. 21-year-old Wade Baldwin, who recently signed with Portland, saw 21 minutes of game action and finished with 15 points going 5-of-6 from the field, four rebounds and two assists.
However, Portland came away from the road trip 2-1 after tough wins at Oklahoma City (44-32) and New Orleans (43-32) and then an even tougher loss at Memphis (21-54).
The Western Conference is a tight race that includes both the Trail Blazers (46-29) and L.A. Clippers (41-34) tonight in Portland. The Clippers are currently riding a three-game win streak with wins at Toronto, vs. Milwaukee, and at Phoenix.
The last meeting
The Clippers are coming in at a dangerous time for the Trail Blazers. After snapping the 13-game win streak last week at home vs. Houston, Portland then fell faced a limping Boston Celtics squad at Moda. The last time the Clippers traveled to Portland, they came away with a tight 104-103 win over the Trail Blazers. But Portland bounced back and won the next two meetings against the Clippers, both in Staples Center and now lead the season series 2-1 heading into tonight’s game at Moda.
Turn the clock back just two weeks for the last time these two teams met. Lillard finished leading the Blazers with 23 points and McCollum with 21 points. Jusuf Nurkic finished with a double-double 17 points and 12 rebounds, and Napier had a team-high eight assists off the bench. Of course you can’t talk about the Clippers without mentioning their all star down low, Deandre Jordan. But the Blazers defense held Jordan to just seven points. But Jordan also grabbed 16 rebounds. It was Lou Williams off the bench who was the spark for the Clippers finished with 30 points.
The Trail Blazers will be without Maurice Harkless due to a knee injury. Harkless is set to be re-evaluated in two weeks.
Current playoff picture
Portland is sitting in third in the Western Conference with a 46-29 overall record. The Houston Rockets and Golden State Warriors have already locked up the first and second seeds, but three through eight are in a tight race all just within four games of one another and only seven games left in the regular season.
The Clippers are just one game on the outside of the playoff picture.
***The conference standings are up-to-date as of early Monday afternoon before Monday’s games tipped off.
Where: Moda Center, Portland, OR.
Tip-off: 7:30 pm
Television: NBCS Northwest
Live NBC Sports Northwest coverage: Rip City Live (6:00pm) and Talkin' Ball (Immediately after the Blazers postgame show)
Live streaming coverage on Facebook: The Scoop Postgame Show will stream immediately after the game at Facebook.com/NBCSNorthwest.
Radio: Rip City Radio 620