The Portland Trail Blazers' March of Doom continues tonight with a 7:30 p.m. Pacific game against the Los Angeles Clippers, televised on TNT.
Stop me if this is a familiar story. The Clippers are on a five-game winning streak. They're in the thick of a seeding battle with Denver and Memphis for the 3rd-5th spots (though some of that may be resolved by the time you read this). Except for a Caron Butler knee tweak they're healthy. They're deep. They're gearing up for their swing at the post-season.
As far as we know the Blazers are still starting Victor Claver and Will Barton and wondering when Wednesday finally arrive.
[insert sad trombone here]
Let's run down the depth chart. Given the state of Portland's rotation Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan, Willie Green, Jamal Crawford, Lamar Odom, Matt Barnes, Grant Hill, and Butler would each start for the Blazers right now. You'd have to shift a player to get Paul and Griffin in, but you'd do it. That's 9 Clippers with clear claims on Portland's starting lineup. LaMarcus Aldridge and Damian Lillard could say the same in reverse, but the Clippers would still start Paul and Griffin alongside them.
Depth? We don't need no stinkin' depth!
How good have the Blazers been in transition defense or defending the paint lately? The Clips are top-third in both scoring categories. They're not bad offensive rebounders either. They know how to get easy shots, which is convenient because Portland knows how to give up easy shots. Hey! What a coincidence! Maybe we should get coffee sometime or something?
Oh, and their defense forces turnovers better than anybody in the league. That's just what the Blazers need to see right now.
The thin ray of hope here: the Clippers defend the three-point arc quite poorly. So hoist away, Blazers! Dial long distance like you had a Canadian girlfriend. That'll have the added benefit of saving energy for the game that really matters, the season finale in the Rose Garden in front of the screaming throng, 750 of which will have been sent by Blazer's Edge.
Clips Nation will break down the L.A. side of this game.
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