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Clippers vs. Portland - Game Preview

2009/2010 NBA Regular Season
Staples Center
April 7th, 2010, 7:30 PM
FSN Prime Ticket, 980 AM
Probable starters:
Baron Davis PG Andre Miller
Eric Gordon SG Brandon Roy
Rasual Butler
SF Nicolas Batum
Drew Gooden
PF LaMarcus Aldridge
Chris Kaman C Marcus Camby


The Back Story:

The Big Picture:

The good news is that I'm back from Seattle.  The bad news is that there are still five games left to the season.  Just kidding.  That's not really bad news - except that kind of it is.  What a shame that once again I am ready for a Clippers season to be over.  I'll let you in a on a little secret.  When the Clippers lost in embarrassing fashion to the Warriors at home a couple Sundays ago, I said to Lisa Dillman that I didn't think they'd win another game.  Four games down and five to go on my prediction.  Games like this one against the Blazers, or perhaps the second to last game against the Mavs, are slightly tougher calls in a way.  Because the game is against a quality opponent, you'd think it's a more likely loss.  But actually the opposite is true - the Clippers will only win another game this season if they come into the game and actually show they care, and that's more likely to happen against the Blazers or the Mavs.  Of course they lost to the Knicks - they didn't care.  But maybe they'll have some motivation going up against a quality Portland opponent.  Maybe they'll work hard enough to bother Brandon Roy's production as they did earlier this season.  Maybe having Marcus Camby on the floor, even for the other team, will remind them of what it means to play hard.  We'll see.

The Antagonist:

The poor Blazers have won 10 of their last 12 - and are still in the eighth position in the West!  Basically, teams like Oklahoma City and Dallas and Phoenix and Utah have been almost as hot or hotter the whole time, so they haven't caught anyone in the standings.  They're within a game of Oklahoma City at this point, with a meeting against the Thunder in the next to the last game of the season.  A win in that game would also give Portland the tie breaker against OKC, so they still have a very definite hope to avoid the eighth spot and a date with the Lakers.  Then again, are the Lakers any more scary right now than whatever team closes out the season strong enough to grab the second spot in the West?  Since acquiring Marcus Camby from the Clippers for Steve Blake and Travis Outlaw, the Blazers are 16-6 overall.  With both Greg Oden and Joel Przybilla going down during the season, Marcus was exactly what Portland needed, and not surprisingly he has led the Blazers in rebounding in eight straight games.  At the age of 35, Camby is fourth in the NBA at 11.6 in rebounds per game.  But the Blazers remain securely hitched to the wagon of Brandon Roy, and will go as far as he will take them.  Yes, they've been playing better since acquiring Camby, but that also happens to be about the time that Roy returned from an injury.


The Subplots

  • Last meeting.  In the last meeting between these teams (the first game after the All Star break), Chris Kaman and Baron Davis combined for 10 points and 12 turnovers.  Hopefully we won't see a repeat of that mess.
  • Baron Davis versus Andre Miller.  Davis and Miller always seem to go at each other a bit.  They both came into the league the same year.  They both are LA high school products (though Miller from Verbum Dei was a couple of years ahead of Baron from Crossroads).  One other thing I always remember about Baron and Andre is that they were both on the Team USA edition that finished in 6th place in the World Championships in Indianapolis in 2002.  That's one of those things that you think is going to look good on your resume, and ends up looking bad.
  • Outlaw out.  According to Lisa Dillman, Travis Outlaw will miss the meeting against his former mates because of the strained groin he suffered in Denver.
  • Aldridge.  LaMarcus Aldridge has often given the Clippers fits.  It will be interesting to see how Drew Gooden deals with him.
  • Kaman vs. Camby.  Chris Kaman has not played well since the All Star break, and he's made no secret of being upset that Camby was traded.  He had developed a chemistry with Camby, and Chris tends to let things affect him more than many players.  It will be interesting to see what happens when they go against each other, as they no doubt did in practice on many occasions.
  • Get the Blazers perspective at Blazersedge.