The Portland Trail Blazers seek another statement win in tomorrow’s matchup with the Los Angeles Clippers. Here are some things to know about this game.
One of the NBA’s most entertaining pseudo-rivalries takes a potential step forward when the Portland Trail Blazers and Los Angeles Clippers go head-to-head in a Wednesday night battle. Both teams are looking to establish themselves in the Western Conference standings, and will have a great opportunity to add momentum.
Behind the improved, more focused play of Paul George, as well as the ever-consistent Kawhi Leonard, the Clippers have looked a lot like last season’s regular season juggernaut. Well, almost. They opened the year with exclamation point victories over defending-champion Los Angeles Lakers, and scored revenge against the Denver Nuggets …
… and then followed that up with their largest loss in franchise history, a 51-point defeat at the hands of the Dallas Mavericks.
The more valuable lesson is that anyone can lose to anyone by apparently any amount on a given night, even a team that will head into Wednesday night with the No. 1 seed in the West after their recent 124-101 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves.
In our wildest imaginations, the Portland Trail Blazers will be anxious to make that happen. The bad blood between these teams — mostly overdramatized — dates back to April of 2019, when Damian Lillard ended George’s championship aspirations in Oklahoma City, and bled into the Blazers-Clippers critical game on the Orlando campus, that ended in a Portland defeat and social media jabs to follow.
That night, the Blazers struggled to defeat the Clippers’ second unit. This go round, it promises to be more difficult, even if Kawhi Leonard is unable to play, especially with how Los Angeles’ new additions have stepped up to contribute right away. Those in mind, here are some details to know about the game.
How to follow the action:
Injury report, per CBS Sports
— (POR) Nassir Little, protocol (expected to be out until Jan. 1)
— (POR) Zach Collins, ankle (expected to be out until at least Jan. 20)
— (LAC) Kawhi Leonard, mouth laceration (questionable)
— (LAC) Marcus Morris, knee (questionable)
— POR — Damian Lillard (G), CJ McCollum (G), Derrick Jones Jr., (F), Robert Covington (F), Jusuf Nurkic (C)
— LAC — Patrick Beverley (G), Luke Kennard (G), Paul George (F), Nicolas Batum (F), Serge Ibaka (C)