Clippers vs. Trail Blazers Odds
|Trail Blazers Odds||-3.5|
|Time||10 p.m. ET|
|Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.|
The Los Angeles Clippers will kick off a short two-game road trip on Tuesday when they travel to Portland to take on the Trail Blazers.
Despite some lingering injuries to their franchise cornerstones, the Clippers enter this matchup with an overall record of 12-9 and in fifth place in the Western Conference. Meanwhile, Portland has cooled down from its hot start to the season, and as a result enters this matchup with a record of 11-9 and in seventh in the West.
Both Portland and L.A. will likely have stars on the bench for this matchup, which throws a small wrinkle into this game. Will the Clippers be the team that overcomes the injuries and comes out on top, or will Portland defend their home court and leave victorious?
Clippers Win With Defense
Paul George and Luke Kennard have already been ruled out for this game, and Kawhi Leonard is listed as a game-time decision due to an ankle injury that has kept him sidelined for the Clippers’ last three games.
Without all three of those guys on the floor this past week, the Clippers have won just one of their last three games in a stretch that has seen sub-par offensive production, which has been the case for this team for a majority of the season.
The first quarter of the season has been one to forget for Los Angeles from an offensive perspective. Through 21 games the Clippers rank 29th in the NBA in Offensive Rating at 107.4, down from 109.5 a season ago.
However, L.A. is surprisingly efficient from the floor this season. According to TeamRankings, the Clippers rank ninth in field goal percentage (47.9%) and are shooting 35.7% from behind the arc, which has allowed them to stay competitive with their opponents despite having a down year on the offensive end of the floor.
What the Clippers lack on offense is made for with stellar defense, as evidenced by their Defensive Rating of 107.6. However, in L.A.’s last three games without Leonard and George on the floor that rating has risen to 111.9, which unsurprisingly shows that a lot of the defensive production is a direct result of those two being healthy.
We could see this defense to continue to trend in the wrong direction if they were to both sit out again.
Blazers Have Cooled Down
The Trail Blazers began their season by winning nine of their first 12 games, but since then have fallen back to Earth.
Portland is just 2-6 overall in its most recent eight games, with those two wins coming against the Knicks and the Spurs. The most glaring issue that this team is having during this rough patch has been on the defensive end of the floor, as Portland has allowed opponents to score 109 points or more in each of the last eight games.
Additionally, that eight-game stretch has seen Portland post a Defensive Rating of 117.9, which is a significant increase from its season rating of 112.4 and further shows that defense has gone out the window for this squad over the last two weeks.
However, even without Damian Lillard in the lineup for the last four games, the Blazers have managed to stay afloat on the offensive end of the floor. In that timeframe, they have posted an Offensive Rating of 111.2 and have shot 47% from the floor overall, with much of that production coming from Jerami Grant and Anfernee Simons.
Clippers-Trail Blazers Pick
Injuries are the main highlight in this matchup, but the Blazers’ injury situation is much more clear and that is why I think backing them at home is the best play here.
Even with a massive dip in production of the defensive end lately, Portland is still in a good position to hold an already weak Clippers offense in check. With George, Kennard, and most recently John Wall being announced as out, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Leonard to continue to sit for at least one more game. That will open up the door on both ends of the floor for the Blazers.
Expect Grant, Simons, and the rest of the Blazers to feast in a game where very little defensive resistance will be presented to them.
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