Two of the top teams in the Western Conference square off in Los Angeles on Wednesday as the Portland Trail Blazers visit the Los Angeles Clippers. Both are coming off wins at Staples Center, as Portland topped the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers there Monday night, while the Clippers topped Minnesota Timberwolves on Tuesday night. Let’s dive into our Portland Trail Blazers vs Los Angeles Clippers betting preview.
It’s been an up-and-down season for both teams already. Portland has won two straight after a 20-point loss at home to the Utah Jazz to open the season last week. The Clippers beat both of last season’s Western Conference finalists, the Lakers, and Denver Nuggets, before falling to the Dallas Mavericks by 51 on Sunday.
The Clippers are two-point favorites at home in this one for online betting, but this one is going to be close. The Trail Blazers don’t back down from anyone, and they want to send a message by sweeping the two Los Angeles teams on their home court.
Portland Trail Blazers vs Los Angeles Clippers Betting Preview Rundown
The Trail Blazers are already dealing with plenty of injuries, with power forward Zach Collins out with an ankle injury and forward Carmelo Anthony out due to health and safety protocols. That just means the team’s guard tandem of Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum will have to step up their games in this one.
Lillard is coming off a 31-point effort against the Lakers, including scoring 21 in the second half. The sharp-shooting guard is averaging 24 points and seven assists, and he always seems to save his best for his rivalry with the Clippers’ Paul George. Lillard famously waved goodbye after he hit a series-winning shot in George’s face two seasons ago, so he’ll certainly be up for this one.
McCollum is also playing well, averaging 29 points and 7.3 assists while shooting 42.9 percent from 3-point range. Gary Trent Jr. helped out in the win over the Lakers with seven 3-pointers, matching his career-high, as the Blazers will look to bomb away from long range.
The Clippers are still without Kawhi Leonard, who is listed as day-to-day after making NBA news by taking a nasty hit to the face on Friday night against Denver. Leonard hasn’t played in the last two games for Los Angeles.
George has stepped up to become the team leader in scoring in Leonard’s absence, averaging 22.3 points as well as a team-high 5.3 assists per game. The absence of Leonard on the court may allow George to move back into the lead role that he played so well back in his days with the Indiana Pacers. He must be aggressive in looking for his shot while also keeping everyone else on the team involved.
Lou Williams had 20 points off the bench in the Clippers’ win over Minnesota on Tuesday, leading seven players in double figures. Serge Ibaka has played well in his first season in Los Angeles, providing solid shooting on the offensive end and hard-nosed defense on the other end. He’s coming off a 16-point, eight-rebound effort against the Timberwolves.
Portland Trail Blazers vs Los Angeles Clippers Betting Preview: High-Scoring Affair
The shots are going to be flying in this one, with guard play the main focus of both teams’ offenses. Lillard and McCollum can hurt any team from the perimeter, while the Clippers have shown some firepower even without Leonard on the floor.
The biggest question in this one will be how George plays. There are times he doesn’t play as well in big games, and taking on his nemesis in Lillard may bring out the best in him, or the worst. If George can be aggressive without turning the ball over too much, he’ll make the Clippers hard to beat.
While Portland played well against the Lakers, it says here they won’t have the same success against the Clippers. I like Los Angeles to pull this one out in the fourth quarter and cover the two-point spread. Make your NBA picks on the Clippers and the over of 227.