The Clippers come to Portland with a 3-0 record on the season. Their last game was an impressive 102-84 win against the Utah Jazz. Defense has been a strong suit for this Clippers team, who are currently number one in points allowed. Each member of the starting lineup scored double digit points in a balanced performance offensively. Blake Griffin led all scorers with 22 points, and DeAndre Jordan posted 11 points and 18 rebounds.
The Trail Blazers have also started the season strongly, and come into this game with a 3-1 record. CJ McCollum led the team in their last win against the Pelicans with 23 points, including 4 of 5 shooting from deep. Ed Davis posted a double-double of 12 points as 10 rebounds off the bench as the Blazers took the game 103-93.
Keys to the game
Rebounding –The Blazers and Clippers are first and third respectively in rebounding this season, so expect a tough rebounding battle in this one, especially between DeAndre Jordan and Jusuf Nurkic.
More Clippers Defense – It would be a big statement if the Clippers can exhibit another strong defensive performance against the Blazers and their potent offense. No team is yet to score 100 points against LA, but can the Blazers break the streak?
Transition play – With both teams being strong rebounders, moving the ball in transition is a key component of their play. Expect the pace of this game to be frantic inside a lively Staples Center.
Matchup to watch
Damian Lillard vs Patrick Beverley – Beverley is one of the toughest defenders in the league, and will be looking forward to facing Lillard on Thursday night, who will also be up for the challenge. If the newly acquired Beverley can shut Lillard down, as he’s done in the past, the Blazers will need to rely on secondary scoring to get the job done.
Portland Trail Blazers projected lineup
PG – Damian Lillard | SG – CJ McCollum | SF – Maurice Harkless | PF – Al-Farouq Aminu | C – Jusuf Nurkic
Los Angeles Clippers projected lineup
PG – Patrick Beverley | SG – Austin Rivers | SF – Danilo Gallinari | PF – Blake Griffin | C – DeAndre Jordan
Blake Griffin has been lighting it up this season, and should have a strong performance again in this one. The Blazers’ Harkless or Aminu aren’t exactly the best defenders in the league so Griffin should have his way to another 20+ point and 10+ rebound game.
Portland is 2.5 point favorite in this one, but I wouldn’t put it past the Clippers to get the win. We’ll go with the Clippers to cover the spread in this one.
Both teams have started the season positively, so this will be an exciting game, which the Clippers will take in a close one.
You can watch the game on local networks or stream on League Pass, coverage starts from 10 pm ET
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