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Portland Trail Blazers vs. Los Angeles Clippers Game Preview

After losing to the Clippers earlier this week, the Blazers look to get a win in the rematch.

NBA: Portland Trail Blazers at Los Angeles Clippers Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Portland Trail Blazers (2-2) vs Los Angeles Clippers (1-3)

The Portland Trail Blazers are just a few games into their season and already getting the opportunity for a rematch with the Los Angeles Clippers. The Trail Blazers recently played the Clippers in Los Angeles where they lost by 30 points and struggled throughout the game. Portland has a chance now to redeem their loss with the Clippers.

Friday, October 29 - 7:00 p.m. PT
How to watch on TV: ROOT Sports, NBA League Pass
Blazers injuries: Tony Snell (out)
Grizzlies injuries: Kawhi Leonard (out), Jason Preston (out), Serge Ibaka (out), Keon Johnson (out), Marcus Morris (day to day)
SBN Affiliate: Clips Nation

UPDATE:

Norman Powell has been given the all clear to return tonight.

What To Watch For

  • Defense. Have I said this already? Can I say it again? Defense. The games that the team has won this season have included significantly better defense than we are used to. It’s been a refreshing change to get some glimpses of the Trail Blazers playing solid defense. While it seems like an obvious concept, their defense directly relates to the outcome of the game.
  • Anfernee Simons. Ant has been on fire. For the last couple of years there has been a lot of talk surrounding him and in the first few games of the season he seems to be living up to the hype. Simons is a player that can be a huge difference maker for this team coming off the bench, and he seems to be filling that role already. In addition to watching Ant, the whole bench is worth watching. After last season’s struggle, this season’s bench has been a breath of fresh air.
  • Revenge Game. It has only been about a week since Portland lost to this same team in LA. A chance to play again this quickly and at the Moda Center is a perfect recipe for a comeback. This team does well when they’re the underdog, or when they are going up against a team that’s beat them previously. I think it’s about time for Dame Time.

What Others Are Saying

Even though the Clippers wailed on the Trail Blazers, the rest of their season hasn’t been so smooth, Yahoo Sports reports.

While the victory over the Blazers was promising, the Clippers remain desperate to deliver a better brand of basketball.

They have lost three times in four games, the most recent Wednesday at home in a 92-79 setback to the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Clippers scored just 14 points in the opening quarter, while shooting 19 percent from the field (4 of 21), with eight turnovers, and never recovered.

“We’ve gotta get back to playing the right way,” Clippers head coach Tyronn Lue said. “You can take losing the game if you play the right way and I just didn’t think we did.”

Without Kawhi Leonard (knee), the Clippers are struggling to find an identity. Paul George has averaged 24.0 points with 4.0 assists and 4.0 steals, while Reggie Jackson is scoring 15.5 per game, but the team entered play Thursday 24th in the NBA in field-goal percentage (42.7) and 26th in 3-point percentage (30.7).

Former Trail Blazer, Nicolas Batum was crucial to the Clippers offense in the Clippers’ win over against Portland last week, but the team has struggled to find their rhythm since. Sabreena Merchant of Clips Nation explains.

The Clippers should be passing the ball more in the absence of Kawhi Leonard, using ball and player movement to compensate for the drop in talent when Leonard isn’t playing. Instead, they’re trying to do too much one-on-one creation, thus dribbling the air out of the ball instead of working together to create better shots.

Nicolas Batum picked up on that trend in the team’s first two games, so much so that when he was inserted into the starting lineup against Portland, he made a deliberate attempt to only pass and not shoot in order to generate more flow.

“We had big leads, we were up 10 against Golden State and up 13 against Memphis and we stopped moving the ball, start playing one-on-one, that’s how I think we lost the first two games,” Batum said Wednesday. “That’s why by myself I took only two shots, because I try to overplay maybe too much, and because we needed that, we needed to make the ball moving.... I may overdo it, for sure, clearly, but that’s what we you need to do.”