Game Preview: Clippers host Blazers, looking for third straight win
The Clippers (25-24) will play host to the Portland Trailblazers (27-22) on Tuesday at STAPLES Center. The two teams have faced off once this season, with L.A. emerging victorious, 104-103, on Oct. 26 in Portland.
Here’s what to look out for in Tuesday’s tilt:
Can ‘Sweet Lou’ keep it up?
Clippers reserve guard Lou Williams is having the best individual season of his career, and it doesn’t look like he plans on slowing down.
In recent games, especially against New Orleans on Sunday, teams have tried to make it a point to slow Williams down from the outset. Against the Pelicans, on several occasions, Williams’ defender picked up Williams full court, denying him the ball all the way up the floor and in the half court.
While the trick seemed to work in the first half for the Pelicans, with Williams tallying only 7 points by halftime, the second half was a different story. Williams scored 15 points in the final 24 minutes, including 8 in the fourth quarter, to help the Clippers seal the win.
Williams has now scored 20+ points in 12 straight games off the bench for the Clippers, the longest streak in the NBA dating back to 1977. He is also averaging 26.6 points, 7.4 assists and 3.4 steals over the last five games.
The Milos Show
Simply put, when Clippers rookie guard Milos Teodosic plays – and plays well – the Clippers find success. At least that seems to be the trend so far.
Teodosic has played in 22 games so far this season, after missing several games with a plantar fasciitis injury. When he does play, the Clippers are 15-7. Furthermore, when he scores in double-figures, L.A. is 9-2, and when he dishes out 5 or more assists, the Clippers are an impressive 12-4.
Over the last 11 games, the Clippers are 8-3, and during that span, Teodosic is averaging 11.4 points and 5.7 assists in the nine games he’s played.
Goin’ hard in the paint
Clippers center DeAndre Jordan had a monster game against Anthony Davis and the Pelicans on Sunday, notching his 27th double-double of the season with 12 points, 19 rebounds and a block. Over the last three games, Jordan is averaging 14.0 points and 14.0 rebounds while shooting 76 percent from the field, and in the Clippers’ first matchup with the Blazers, Jordan grabbed 18 rebounds.
Jordan will matchup with Blazers young center Jusuf Nurkic, who is averaging 14.3 points and 8.0 rebounds in his fourth NBA season.
Facing the Blazers means matching up with one of the best backcourts in the business: Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum.
And this backcourt is arguably playing the best it has all season.
In the month of January, the Blazers are 9-5 in 14 games and have won five of their last six. Over the course of this month, Lillard is averaging 25.9 points on 50 percent shooting, to go along with 7.0 assists, and McCollum is putting up 22.6 points, 4.3 assists and 1.1 steals.
In the first matchup of the season between the Blazers and Clippers, Lillard and McCollum combined for 48 points and 10 assists.
Tuesday’s matchup will tip at 7:30 p.m. PST on TNT.