It’s about that time of the year when the Clippers might be eyeing the standings, not necessarily to jockey for position but just to keep an eye on who potential postseason partners could be.
At this point, it seems most likely that the Clippers will end up as the third seed in the west and thus play the sixth seed in the first round, which is currently the Portland Trail Blazers. That would be quite a desirable outcome considering the the Clippers have won the first two meetings by a combined 40 points, and if anything, that margin undersells how dominant the victories have been.
Damian Lillard has had a hard time generating efficient offense against the Clippers, shooting 5-of-28 thus far, and he won’t even be playing in Tuesday night’s matchup, leaving the Trail Blazers even further limited on the offensive end against what is now the 11th-ranked defense in the league.
When: Tuesday, April 20 at 7 p.m. PT
Where: Moda Center, Portland, Oregon
How to watch/listen: TNT
Opposing perspective: Blazer’s Edge
Projected Starting Lineups
Clippers (40-19): Reggie Jackson, Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, Ivica Zubac, Marcus Morris Sr.
Blazers (32-24): Norman Powell, Robert Covington, Enes Kanter, CJ McCollum, Derrick Jones Jr.
Clippers: Patrick Beverley (right knee), Serge Ibaka (lower back) — OUT
Blazers: Zach Collins (ankle), Damian Lillard (hamstring), Jusuf Nurkic (knee) — OUT
If only offense were the biggest problem for the Blazers. They have been equally hopeless trying to stop the Clippers, owners of the best offense in the league. Portland concedes more corner threes than all but three teams in the NBA, and the Clippers rain fire from that area of the court, making 47.6 percent of their corner 3-pointers. Without Jusuf Nurkic available to at least provide meaningful backline defense, the Blazers will be grasping at straws trying to stop this offense.
The Clippers might even consider giving one of their veterans the night off with another game back in Los Angeles on Wednesday night. That could serve the dual purpose of holding back some of the team’s cards if these two squads were in fact to meet in the postseason.
Enjoy the game, and comment below!