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Portland Trail Blazers vs. Los Angeles Clippers Preview

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The Blazers hit the road to face the Clippers.

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

Portland Trail Blazers (30-19) vs Los Angeles Clippers (33-18)

The Portland Trail Blazers play the Los Angeles Clippers in Staples Center, the first of two straight on the road for the Blazers. Portland is coming off of a 48 point rout of the Oklahoma City Thunder, making that their fifth win in the last six games. The Los Angeles Clippers are two days removed from a win over the Lakers, ending a two game losing streak.

Tuesday, April 6 - 7:00 p.m. PT
How to watch on TV: NBCSNW, NBA League Pass or see games all season on fuboTV
Blazers injuries: Zach Collins (out), Jusuf Nurkic (out), Derrick Jones Jr. (questionable)
Clippers injuries: Jay Scrubb (out), Serge Ibaka (out), Patrick Beverly (out), DeMarcus Cousins (questionable)
SBN Affiliate: Clips Nation

What To Watch For

  • Robert Covington. Covington has scored 10 or more points 10 times in the last 14 games for the Blazers, hitting three or more threes in 11 of those games. He has really stepped up his game since the All-Star break, and has been a large part of the Blazers recent success. His offensive contributions will not be the most important job he has in this game, as he will most likely be matched up against one of Kawhi Leonard or Paul George for most of his minutes. Covington excels as an off-ball defender, and will be a key piece for the Blazers’ defensive match up if he can make it harder for the Clippers to get the ball to their two stars.
  • Marcus Morris. Since Morris has joined the starting lineup, he has scored single digit points just once in his nine games, topping 20 three times during that span as well. He has shot 50% from three on 29 makes in his last nine games and has provided another offensive dynamo for the Clippers. The last thing the Blazers want to have to deal with is another scoring wing in addition to George and Leonard, and Morris has the ability to swing the game in his team’s favor if he keeps up his recent scoring output.
  • Small Ball Lineups. Both the Blazers and the Clippers will be down a big man in this match up, with the former’s injured center being Nurkic, and the latter’s being Ibaka. Both teams wil be forced to run out lineups with a much shorter average height than they normally would, which means there is a possibility that a situation could arise where a 6’8” Marcus Morris is the tallest player on the floor for either team for extended minutes. How well each team handles the challenge of playing small could decide who wins and who loses.

What Others Are Saying

Clips Nation’s Sabreena Merchant highlights Terrance Mann’s improvement throughout this NBA season.

Mann’s improvement is on display in the way he reads the game and his overall decision-making, but his work is manifesting itself most clearly in his shooting. Whether that’s his touch around the basket, or his proficiency from distance — Mann is shooting 47.2 on threes since the start of February — he’s becoming a legitimate offensive threat from everywhere on the court. He can get to the cup can make kick-out passes if the defense collapses, he creates space in the midrange, and now he is willing to fire from long range as well.

Ohm Youngmisik of ESPN talks about Paul George’s thoughts on the trade deadline addition of Rajon Rondo.

George said Rondo, who won a championship with the Boston Celtics in 2008 and the Lakers last season, instantly becomes one of the respected leaders in the Clippers’ locker room.

“Rondo’s a leader, you know the point guard, he’s a leader,” George said. “We’re going to listen to him. I look at him as a leader, a leader of this group. He’ll hold a lot of weight. He holds a lot of weight in the locker room. As he gets more comfortable within our system, getting games under his feet, he’ll hold us accountable. That’s what you need in the locker room, somebody that’s going to say what needs to be said and get us going.”