clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Portland Trail Blazers at Los Angeles Clippers Preview

After three days off, the Blazers are back in action against the Clippers.

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

NBA: Atlanta Hawks at Los Angeles Clippers Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Portland Trail Blazers (27-22) vs. Los Angeles Clippers (25-24)

Tuesday, January 30th - 7:30 p.m. PT
Blazers injuries: None
Clippers injuries: Danilo Gallinari (doubtful), Austin Rivers (out), Patrick Beverley (out), Jawun Evans (questionable), C.J. Williams (out)
How to watch on TV: TNT
How to stream: YouTube Live TV, Playstation Vue, Hulu Live TV, FuboTV
Radio: 620 AM
SBN Affiliate: Clips Nation

The Portland Trail Blazers are back in action Tuesday night against the Los Angeles Clippers after a three-day break following their road win against the Dallas Mavericks.

The Blazers are playing better basketball of late, winning five of their last six and eight of their last 12 games, mainly due to the offense finally clicking. But the Clippers have been on a tear of their own, winning eight of their last 11 and 14 of their last 20.

Evan Turner, who missed Friday’s game for personal reasons, has rejoined the team and will play against Los Angeles.

What to Watch For

The free throw battle. The Clippers get to the line more than 25 times per game, third in the NBA. In the past, the poor-shooting DeAndre Jordan would be responsible for a quarter of the team’s attempts, but no longer. As Jordan has moved from abysmal to bad and the league has implemented rules limiting the “Hack-a-Jordan” strategy, he now takes fewer than four free throw attempts per game. Lou Williams meanwhile gets to the line more than six times per game.

Can the Blazers take advantage of turnovers? The Blazers aren’t a team to get out in transition, ranking last in the league in fast break points at 6.6 per game. But the Clippers can be forced into turnovers, averaging 15 a night. Portland has done a better job of late getting out in transition, so look for them to take advantage of any miscues by Williams and company.

Physical play. The Clippers like to bruise. They also like to put pressure on the officials through a...ahem...variety of means. The Blazers are going to need to take what the Clippers dish out and punch back. Some physicality from Jusuf Nurkic and especially Ed Davis would go a long way for Portland on Tuesday.

What They’re Saying

Kevin Arnovitz of ESPN wrote about how the Clippers are finding their identity despite being ravaged by injuries:

And it’s the kind of team that enjoys its own company while reveling in a defining win as the other team goes on an emotional bender. In recent seasons, the Clippers didn’t need outside agitators to detonate an explosion inside their own locker room, so the appearance of Trevor Ariza at the threshold of the rectangular inner sanctum where players’ lockers are assembled on three sides was a departure. One player Tuesday characterized the standoff as “just posturing,” as players on both sides traded barbs before support staff and team security intervened. As the scene cleared, the Clippers realized they’d experienced yet another catalyzing event -- similar in scope if not substance to their short-handed win over a then-sizzling Rockets team in Houston just before Christmas, a game they entered 12-18.

”It’s a fun team, man,” Griffin says. “Everybody trusts and enjoys playing with each other. It’s fun to play a game like [Monday night] in an emotional atmosphere like that, and not run from it. It’s fun trying to win games however we can, whether there are injuries. And it’s fun figuring it out as we go.”

ESPN’s Nick Friedell wrote about Doc Rivers’ dissatisfaction with the officals in last week’s loss against Minnesota:

Clippers assistant coach Sam Cassell got another technical foul a few minutes later, before Rivers and Woodson were kicked out of the game right before its conclusion.

”Sam got a tech for saying, ‘Three seconds,’” Rivers said. “Blake got a tech for saying, ‘Over my back.’ One ref told me I couldn’t talk. I thought I was the head coach. As long as I’m respectful, I can say whatever I want. That’s not why we lost the game.

“It is what it is,” Rivers said of the officiating. “I don’t have any control over that. With our guys, what I always tell them is to keep our composure. No fourth-quarter techs. I honestly -- I heard what Blake and Sam said. I guess you can give a guy a tech for anything. I didn’t think either one of them really earned it. But you still can’t get ‘em.”

Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times writes what it means for the Clippers to get DeAndre Jordan back:

The 6-foot-11 center missed about two weeks recovering from the injury. Jordan is second in the NBA in rebounding, averaging 14.9 per game.

”Clearly he’s one of the better defensive players in the league,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. “He affects our offense more than people think as well because of his rolling, because of his ability to get behind the defense. So, you miss DJ when he’s not on the floor, there’s no doubt. We won a couple of games without him, but it’s hard.”