L.A. Clippers (2-0) at Portland (0-2)
When: Saturday, April 23rd 2016
Where: Moda Center, Portland, OR
Time: 10:35 ET | TV: ESPN
The Portland Trail Blazers will look to get back into their series with the Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday night when things shift to Portland. The Clippers have been dominant so far in the series grabbing a 2-0 lead and winning by an average of 20.5 points. Los Angeles leaned on its bench in Game 2 and was rewarded with 43 points from the reserves. Sixth Man of the Year Jamal Crawford led the bench with 11 points in Game 2 and all five reserves to log at least 12 minutes were +15 or better. The bench gave Los Angeles the confidence to sit their regulars more than usual as DeAndre Jordan logged the most minutes with just 33:57. Jordan is averaging 15 rebounds and 3.5 blocks in the series. The Clippers’ strong defense limited Portland to 34.1% shooting in Game 2 including 5-of-26 from beyond the arc. The Clippers were one of just four teams (Thunder, Warriors, Spurs) who were over .500 on the road this season (24-17).
The Blazers need to get more scoring from their star guards Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum. Lillard is 13-of-39 from the field in the series while McCollum is 9-of-28. Portland was within six points early in the fourth quarter in Game 2 and feels like it improved from game to game. “Game 1 we were in the game and then they had a stretch where they got on a run, we couldn’t score the ball, and we just couldn’t close that gap for the rest of the game,” Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard told reporters. “(Game 2) we took it a step further and the game was closer for a little bit longer than it was last game, and then the same thing happened. We went cold and they started to knock down shots.” Mason Plumlee had 17 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists in Game 2 after managing four points, five boards and no assists in Game 1. Portland was a solid 28-13 at the Moda Center this season including splitting two contests with the Clippers.
I think Lillard and McCollum get things going at home and make this a series. I’ll take Portland tonight getting a point and a half. They have won nine of their last ten home games.
Pick: Blazers +1.5