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Clippers at Portland pre-season: lots of work to do

The Clippers looked rusty and disinterested in their first pre-season game, a loss to the Warriors Tuesday night. It's just pre-season, but hopefully they'll look a bit sharper tonight against the Blazers.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

It's just pre-season: no one's going to get too upset about any loss, nor should anyone be getting too excited about wins. By the same token, I'm not going to spend a lot of time writing previews for meaningless games.

The Los Angeles Clippers didn't look very good in their first pre-season game, a loss to the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday. Specifically, the Clippers looked rusty and flat, both of which are completely understandable during the pre-season.

Blake Griffin did shoot very well from the perimeter, at least during a red-hot first quarter, and that was good to see. But scratch the surface and Griffin wasn't really that good, failing to score much in the post where he should be spending most of his time.

Still, the pre-season isn't about Ws and Ls -- it's about learning things, and Blake's jump shot is definitely something we want to know more about. We also want to know what's going to happen at the small forward spot, where Matt Barnes is assured of a spot in the rotation, but everything else is up in the air. Chris Douglas-Roberts got an extended look on Tuesday, Reggie Bullock got some minutes as well, and Joe Ingles will get significant burn at some point. When asked Saturday if he'd start one of the "other" 3s in the Rose City, Doc Rivers demurred; he hasn't decided yet.

The Trail Blazers were one of the real surprises of the Western Conference last season, and we'll see if they can sustain their success this year. The starting lineup remains impressive, with a big two in LaMarcus Aldridge and Damian Lillard plus three guys in Nicolas Batum and Wesley Matthews and Robin Lopez who are incredibly good at playing their roles. The Portland bench remains the big question mark, and it's unclear whether they did enough to address the shortcoming in the off-season -- two of their major acquisitions were former Clippers Chris Kaman and Steve Blake, so take that for what it's worth.

One aspect of this rivalry we'll delve into more during the regular season is the Microsoft connection. The Blazers are owned by Paul Allen; the Clippers by Steve Ballmer. Both are among the wealthiest owners in the NBA, and both made their money from their association with Bill Gates and Microsoft from the very beginning.

The game starts at 6 PM on Prime Ticket.

Head on over to Blazer's Edge for the view from Portland.