Portland Trail Blazers (40-26) at Los Angeles Clippers (39-29)
Tuesday, March 12th - 7:30 p.m. PT
Blazers injuries: Evan Turner (questionable), Rodney Hood (questionable)
Clippers injuries: Luc Mbah a Moute (out)
How to watch on TV: NBCSNW, NBA League Pass (outside of Portland)
How to stream: YouTube Live TV, Playstation Vue, Hulu Live TV, FuboTV, NBA League Pass (outside of Portland)
Radio: 620 AM
SBN Affiliate: Clips Nation
The Portland Trail Blazers hit the road again after their brief two-game home stand. The Blazers went 1-1 after losing in overtime to the Oklahoma City Thunder and then defeating the Phoenix Suns by a score of 127-120.
The Los Angeles Clippers are in the sixth spot in the West and they are playing well. Winners of five in a row, the Clippers are looking up the standings at the Blazers and not over their shoulders. Consecutive wins over the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Boston Celtics have brought the Clippers even with the Blazers in the win column, albeit with more losses. A win by the Clippers over the Blazers would even up the season series at two apiece.
What to watch for
- Free throws. The Clippers get to the charity stripe more than any other team in the NBA, 28.8 times per game. They also make them, scoring 22.8 points per game by way of foul shots. Portland doesn’t get to the line as often, but they make a higher percentage. Crunch the numbers and the Clippers get 3.7 points more per game from the free throw line than Portland. If the Blazers can score more points from the line than the Clippers there is no reason that Portland can’t come away with a victory.
- Three-pointers. The Clippers’ three-point data is a little strange. At 38.2%, Los Angeles has the second-highest percentage in the NBA. At the same time, the Clippers take the second lowest number of attempts from downtown at 25.4 per game, 5.4 fewer attempts per game than the Blazers. At the end of the day, the Blazers absolutely need to have more makes from deep than the Clippers. Hopefully they can also keep their percentage in the same ballpark as Los Angeles.
- Bench points. The Clippers lead the NBA in bench scoring with 52.8 per game. The Blazers are miles away at 35.0. The Blazers don’t need their bench to match the Clippers’ bench basket-for-basket, but anything less than than their average bench production and Portland is likely to come away second best at the end of the game.
What they’re saying
Against the preseason odds the Clippers are the best team in Los Angeles. Logan Rapp of Clipperholics fills in the details.
35.5 wins. That was all Westgate was willing to project for the LA Clippers for the 2018-2019 season.
LeBron James had just signed with the Lakers. Their upseason win total line was set at 48.5.
With 16 games left in the season, the Clippers have already made their over, and the Lakers, with 18 games left, are mathematically incapable of doing so. And after an electric win over the Lakers, the Clippers now stand as the Best Team In LA.
Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times says that Lou Williams and Montrezl Harrell are making history, and their success didn’t happen overnight.
Williams is first among all reserves in points per game (20.2) and Harrell is fifth (16.2), making them the highest-scoring duo off the bench of any team in history, according to Elias Sports Bureau.
They began to perfect the process at the pro-am league three summers ago, always playing on the same team, looking for ways be a one-two punch.
Lou Williams and Ivica Zubac played together on the Lakers. Now they are back together writes Sabreena Merchant of Clips Nation.
It’s still early in their new partnership, and Lou Williams can make practically any rolling big man look good, but Zubac has shown that he knows how to play with Williams and how to get easy baskets for both of them. It is a process that has been a few years in the making.
“He was there my rookie year, and I learned a lot from him: how to be a professional and how to work out every day, how to prepare for every game,” Zubac said about Williams. “We had a good connection because we were both coming off the bench, we were running a lot of pick and roll, and we really had a good connection, so I think he liked me from my rookie year.”