Tonight the Portland Trailblazers will try to go 2-0 in the Staples Center against the Clippers after upsetting the Lakers 115-107 on Monday night. The Clippers play on a back to back after bouncing back against the mavericks after that horrendous 51 pt loss.
Portlands new Spark?
Monday against the Lakers Damian Lillard led the way with 31 points, and CJ McCollum added 20 points, but it was Gary Trent Jr who made a huge impact with 28 points off the bench on 7 of 11 shooting from 3-point range. After scoring zero points in their last game, Gary Trent jr. was on fire and really helped the Blazers bench compete. He was making the catch and shoot threes while also driving to the basket and creating his own shot. Their defense was pesky as well, forcing 15 turnovers from the Lakers. Hopefully, this isn't a one-off for him and the Blazer's sake, because with Melo out this team really needs some help from their second unit. The Blazer's defense also played well on Monday, forcing 15 turnovers.
Will Kawhi Play?
Leonard didn't play again Tuesday against the Timberwolves which means he's missed two games after suffering from a lacerated mouth Friday in a victory against Denver. In Kawhi's first absence, the Clippers were given a 51 point beatdown by the Mavericks. The loss was the worst in franchise history! if you really take a second to think about how many bad Clippers teams there have been over the years and THIS team is the one that owns that record, it's just insane. They bounced back yesterday against the Timberwolves with Lou Williams leading the team with 20 points on 7-11 shooting. To me this team is an enigma, you never know what your gonna get and without Kawhi it just makes things more confusing.
The Blazers have been playing some inspired basketball and coming off a big with this may be their chance to make a statement. Some night the Clippers look like the best team in the league, making threes, running the floor, and playing high-level defense and some just look tired and uninspired. The Clippers are too inconsistent for me to pick a side in this game. The under is 6-2 in the Blazer's last eight games as an underdog and 5-0-1 in the Clipper's last six home games. Since this game is without Leanord and Melo the under is a great bet.