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Clippers vs. Blazers Preview and Game Thread: Portland fighting for final playoff spot

Portland is currently the No. 9 seed.

Portland Trail Blazers v LA Clippers Photo by Chris Elise/NBAE via Getty Images

Game Information

Where: HP Field House, Orlando, FL

When: 10:00 a.m. PT

How to watch: TNT, Fox Sports Prime Ticket, AM 570 LA SPORTS, NBCSNW, Rip City Radio 620

Projected Starting Lineups

Clippers: Landry Shamet Paul George, Kawhi Leonard, Marcus Morris Sr., Ivica Zubac

Blazers: Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum, Carmelo Anthony, Zach Collins, Jusuf Nurkic


Clippers: Patrick Beverley (calf) — OUT, Montrezl Harrell (away from team) — OUT

Blazers: Hassan Whiteside (left hip strain) — DOUBTFUL

For the Clippers, entering this game, they essentially already know their fate. They’re most likely going to finish as the No. 2 seed and their first-round matchup looks as if it will be against the Dallas Mavericks. For the Blazers, they’re fighting for their lives. Entering Saturday morning, Portland is the No. 9 seed. They trail the Grizzlies by one game.

This will be the third time both teams have met this season, with the Clippers coming out victorious in both previous meetings. The first matchup was back in early November. LA escaped with the six-point victory. And when I say escaped, I mean escaped. Entering the fourth quarter, the Clippers trailed by six points, and they trailed by five points with under four minutes remaining.

Kawhi Leonard and Lou Williams then took over the game as they combined for 13 points over the final four minutes, rallying the Clippers to the victory. Leonard finished with 27 points, and Williams was right behind him with 26.

The next matchup a month later wasn’t as close, as the Clippers won by 20. Instead of Leonard and Williams getting the job done, the roles were switched. Instead, it was LA’s other star and other bench piece that got the work done. Paul George finished with 25 points after going 6-of-7 from deep. Montrezl Harrell finished with 26 points on 11-of-13 shooting while also grabbing nine boards.

Final thoughts

This is bound to be a great game, especially early in the morning. The Blazers are a lot better than their record says, and every time these two teams meet, it’s always competitive. The Blazers desperately need a win, so they’ll be fighting as if this is game 7 for them. It’s great for the Clippers to get a matchup like this. Hopefully it’ll continue to help them as they prepare for the playoffs.