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Clippers vs. Blazers preview and game thread: LA aim to hold off surging Portland

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Can Clips get second win in a row?

NBA: Portland Trail Blazers at Los Angeles Clippers Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

The LA Clippers got back in the win column Sunday against the Los Angeles Lakers, and now they turn their attention to the next challenge, Tuesday at home against the Portland Trail Blazers. Portland have won seven of their last 10 games and are only a few games behind the Clippers, so this game could be a big swing result on one side or the other come season’s end.


Game Information

When: Tuesday, April 6 at 7 p.m. PT

Where: Staples Center, Los Angeles, California

How to watch/listen: Bally Sports SoCal

Opposing perspective: Blazer’s Edge

Projected Starting Lineups

Clippers (33-18): Reggie Jackson, Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, Ivica Zubac, Marcus Morris Sr.

Blazers (30-19): Norman Powell, Robert Covington, Enes Kanter, CJ McCollum, Damian Lillard

Injuries

Clippers: Patrick Beverley (right knee) — QUESTIONABLE; Serge Ibaka (lower back) — OUT

Blazers: Derrick Jones, Jr. (quad) — PROBABLE; Zach Collins (ankle), Jusuf Nurkic (knee) — OUT


LA took care of business to beat the Lakers by 18 points in the Sunday matinee, with Marcus Morris Sr. taking the reins in that win. It was a needed victory, not least because the Clippers lost their previous two clashes, both at home, after a six-game winning streak.

But they’ll encounter a feisty Blazers team that is coming off a 48-point win at home over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Saturday and have been largely in sparkling form lately. CJ McCollum was the key man in that win, and he and Damian Lillard form one of the most underrated backcourts in the NBA.

There’s injury news on both sides for this one. Patrick Beverley has been upgraded to questionable, so it seems there’s a chance he could get minutes against Portland after sitting out a long stretch here due to a knee injury, although Serge Ibaka has been ruled out again with his ongoing back issue. Meanwhile, Trail Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic is dealing with a knee injury of his own, so he’s been ruled out against the Clippers. While Enes Kanter is a solid player in his own right, the Blazers definitely lose an element of what makes them so good when Nurkic is missing.

I think this is going to be a battle and it’s really a good tuneup for the playoffs for both teams. Heck, there’s a decent chance they could end up facing each other in the postseason. Obviously neither side will be at absolute full strength, but expect this to be a good game to watch.