Trail Blazers vs. Clippers Preview: L.A. Will Bounce Back from Last Meeting

The Trail Blazers rolled the Clippers in Portland earlier this year. Kenny Ducey thinks this is where LA gets its revenge

Trail Blazers vs. Clippers Odds

Trail Blazers Odds +3
Clippers Odds -3
Over/Under 220.5
Time 10 p.m. ET
Odds via Caesars. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.

A winning streak will be snapped on Tuesday night when the Trail Blazers visit the Clippers in Los Angeles. Portland has begun to find its rhythm with two straight wins while the Clippers are riding in with four victories in a row.

Will L.A. control this game on defense, or can Portland’s offense rise above it? Let’s break down the numbers below and find the answer.

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Blazers Have Same Old Identity

The Trail Blazers had what is best described as a weird victory over the Lakers on Saturday. They won by 15 points, but they were hardly themselves. In a pace-up game against a struggling defense, Portland managed just 105 points, posting a 98.1 Offensive Rating. The saving grace was their defense, which allowed just 84.1 points per 100 possessions, but that’s also not very surprising given how poorly the Lakers have played all season.

Portland’s defense has once again been a major problem this season. Their 110.9 efficiency rating on that end over the last five games ranks 22nd in the league, and for the season they’ve allowed 37% shooting from three, which is the sixth-worst mark. While Portland limited the Lakers to just 28.1% from three over the weekend, the Clippers will pack a far better punch from deep.

Another area we should focus on here is rebounding — the Trail Blazers actually collected 60.2% of available rebounds in their last meeting against the Clippers back on Oct. 29 and rank seventh on the glass in the early going. Considering L.A. is one of the weakest teams in the league down low, this is an easy area for Portland to get an edge.

Don’t Take Much From Clippers’ Loss to Blazers Two Weeks Ago

The Clippers will live and die by the three. After an injury to Marcus Morris Sr. and a slow start from beyond the arc for Paul George, L.A. has come alive from deep. It has drilled 39% of its looks from three over the last four games — the fifth-most in the NBA over that span — which is a large improvement over their season-long mark of 34.8%.

It’s no coincidence, then, that the Clippers have won four straight. Their offense has come alive, and their defense — at least in one of two wins in Minnesota and against the Thunder — finally came to play. The Clippers are still allowing 34.3% shooting from three, which isn’t quite where it should be considering last year’s performance, but no Morris and Kawhi Leonard mixed in with some variance makes it easier to understand.

The -10 in the rebounding department and the 16 offensive rebounds the Trail Blazers corralled really put the nail in the coffin for the Clippers in their loss a couple of weeks ago. That, and the Trail Blazers’ 46.3% shooting from three which counter-acted Paul George’s 42 points. We can reasonably expect the shooting to level out a bit for both teams here given the both teams’ recent performances, but the rebounding discrepancy will probably remain.

Trail Blazers-Clippers Pick

This Clippers team looks far different than the one that was rolled by the Trail Blazers in Portland by a scorching-hot team from beyond the arc, as does their opponent. The Trail Blazers have shot 35% or worse from three in four of their last five games, and the Clippers’ have pulled it together on defense over their last four games with just 98 points against them per 100 possessions.

We should see a far different script play out here, and I’m willing to believe the Clippers can run away with this one.

Pick: Clippers -3 (-110)