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Clippers at Portland - Game Preview


2009/2010 NBA Regular Season
The Rose Garden
February 16th, 2010, 7:00 PM
FSN Prime Ticket, 980 AM
Probable starters:
Baron Davis PG Andre Miller
Eric Gordon SG Brandon Roy?
Rasual Butler
SF Martell Webster
DeAndre Jordan
PF LaMarcus Aldridge
Chris Kaman C Juwan Howard


The Back Story:

The Big Picture:

It's hard to know what to expect from the Clippers the rest of the way.  Two weeks ago their coach stepped down.  The interim replacement is 0-3, including two of the ugliest losses imaginable.  Today, they traded their starting power forward / leading rebounder / leading shot blocker / veteran leader to tonight's opponent for what amounts to a load of cash.  Have they thrown in the towel on the season?  I mean, obviously the playoffs are long since out of the question, but are they going to try to win games, or are they planning their off-seasons and counting ping pong balls in the lottery?  The final game before the All Star break in Oakland would seem to indicate the latter.  

The Antagonist:

After MDsr resigned, someone pointed out that the Blazers were a big part of the reason.  How so?  Well, the Clippers have struggled for three straight seasons now, and the excuse has always been injuries.  The coach has kept his job, ostensibly because it would have been unfair to judge him based on the performance of his injury-riddled team.  But no team in the NBA has been more injury-riddled than the Blazers, and yet they remain firmly ensconced in the playoff race.  So apparently, it is possible, if difficult, to win in the NBA despite significant injuries.  The Blazers are starting to get some bodies back (Nicholas Batum, Rudy Fernandez) at least to the point where they're suiting more than eight guys (unlike the last time these teams played).  But both of their centers, Greg Oden and Joel Przybilla, are out for the season, which is why they coveted Camby.  Brandon Roy is listed as questionable for tonight's game with a hamstring injury.  He has missed 14 of their last 15 games and the All Star game, but is presumably getting close to a return.  They are 6-8 in the 14 games he has missed.


The Subplots

  • Placeholder.  Because I'm running behind, I thought I'd get the beginnings of a preview posted.  I don't know if I'll be able to update this later or not.  But you can use this post to comment about the game.
  • Who starts?  In the absence of Camby, who will start for the Clippers at power forward?  Will if be DeAndre Jordan, Craig Smith or Brian Skinner?  I don't think it will be Smith - I think Hughes will prefer to bring him off the bench to have a low post option with the second unit. It may come down to defense against LaMarcus Aldridge.  Do you go with the veteran Skinner who plays significantly better post defense, or the younger, quicker DeAndre Jordan whose length might be able to both Aldridge on the perimeter?  I have to figure that part of the calculus that sent Camby to Portland was that Jordan needs more court time to develop his game.  So it makes sense to get him out there.
  • Roy or no Roy?  The last time these teams met, the Clippers completely neutralized All Star Brandon Roy, holding him to six points on 3-12 shooting.  If he decides to return in this game, you can rest assured that he'll be looking to make amends for that sub-par performance.
  • Andre Miller - you can't stop him, you can only hope to contain him.  In one of the more bizarre occurrences of the season, Andre Miller scored 52 points in a game against Dallas January 30th.  His previous career high was 37 (as a Clipper, surprisingly enough).  The game before his 52 point outburst, he scored 2.  The game after, he scored 8.  Go figure.
  • Get the Blazers perspective at Blazersedge.