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Portland Trail Blazers vs. Los Angeles Clippers Preview

Can the Blazers finally snag a win on the road?

Los Angeles Clippers v Portland Trail Blazers Photo by Cameron Browne/NBAE via Getty Images

Portland Trail Blazers (5-5) vs. Los Angeles Clippers (5-4)

The Portland Trail Blazers take on the Los Angeles Clippers on the road for what will be the two teams’ third meeting early in this season. The Blazers are coming off of two straight wins at home and are hoping to tack up a third win in a row. The Clippers rebounded from a 1-4 start with four straight wins, and hope to extend that streak to five at home.

Tuesday, November 10 - 7:00 p.m. PT
How to watch on TV: TNT, NBA League Pass
Blazers injuries:
Clippers injuries: Kawhi Leonard (out), Marcus Morris (out), Jason Preston (out)
SBN Affiliate: Clips Nation

What To Watch For

  • Does history repeat itself? The Clippers and Blazers have met twice already this season, and while they have split the season series 1-1, the average margin of victory has been 24.5 points. This is a huge swing from a 30 point Blazers loss to a 19 point Blazers victory. Is this third meeting destined to be a third blowout? Or will it be a hard fought battle due to the coaches having time to adjust to what the other two teams showed in their previous meetings?
  • High level defense meets high level offense. The Clippers defense has been stifling this season, boasting the third best defensive rating so far. On the other side, the Blazers are currently tied for sixth in the league in offensive rating. So what happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object? Will the Blazers be able to bend or break the Clippers defense, or will the Clippers be able to fend off the onslaught that the Blazers bring on a nightly basis? Unfortunately, the last two games give little indication, with two very different results, one marking a victory for the Blazers offense, and the other a Clippers defensive clinic.
  • Road woes. The Blazers are only one of three remaining teams winless on the road, and the only of the three with realistic playoff hopes. Whether or not this is an outlier or a trend that will continue on throughout the season is yet to be seen. The Blazers hope that it is the former, as this is the first of four straight road games.

What Others Are Saying

Josh Sexton of Clips Nation talked about former Blazer Nicolas Batum being the key to the Clippers’ recent run.

Since the Clippers’ last loss, though, Batum has been hot. His defensive energy has been more than matched on the offensive end, as he has started to find some rhythm and help his teammates claw themselves back to .500. He’s averaged more than 15 points through the past three contests, while shooting 60 percent from beyond the arc and pulling down seven boards per game.

Batum has been one of the effective shooters on the roster at 41 percent from deep on the season, as a number of the other guys continue to struggle with shooting the ball despite seeing more positive movement within the win column. Only Luke Kennard currently boasts a better percentage from 3-point range with 45.8 percent, and sitting just behind a guy with one of the league’s sweetest strokes is absolutely no bad place for the Frenchman to be.

Over at the Los Angeles Times, Andrew Greif notes that Serge Ibaka is back for the Clippers.

The 32-year-old center missed his first shot, a jumper from 19 feet. With a pump-fake and dribble, he fluidly navigated around a Charlotte defender’s overeager closeout, only to pass the ball out of bounds to a teammate who wasn’t there.

He collected five fouls, a rebound, assist and block, and missed all three shots in eight minutes in the Clippers’ 120-106 victory over Charlotte, as the team treats his recovery cautiously.

“I’m healthy, I’m back, I’m in good shape,” Ibaka said. “Yeah, it’s going to be fun.”