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Clippers - Blazers Preview

The Clippers have won 5 of 6, and 6 of 8.  They've won 3 straight and 4 of 5 on the road.  A win would even up their road wins with their home losses, putting them back at .500 in that crucial measure, for the first time this season.  It would also bring them within one game of .500 overall and tie them with Denver for the 7th seed in the West.  Next week they come back home to face the hallway rivals and then those self-same Nuggets.  And right on cue, the Blazers have hung it up for the season, with Zach Randolph having hand surgery on Friday.  If the Blazers were still in the race, Randolph would be playing, you can bet - he injured the hand last Sunday, but scored a career-high 43 along with 17 boards on Thursday.  Seems quite debilitating.  

Get out of here everybody, it's a TRAP!

The young Blazers will let it all hang loose tonight - there's no pressure on them at all.  Rookies LaMarcus Aldridge and Brandon Roy will be looking to establish themselves without Zach around hogging all the shots.  

Corey Maggette may not play in this game following a collision in the Kings game.  Cassell is of course day-to-day, and though he looked pretty spry in the first six minutes of the fourth quarter last night, it's hard to imagine him playing in a back-to-back at this point.  If there's no Corey and no Sam, the scoring load is going to fall to Elton and Cat, and someone like Kaman or Tim Thomas is going to have to step up to help them.  Of course, if Jason Hart keeps scoring 16 a game, that would be nice too.