The Portland Trail Blazers are coming off a huge win and are facing the LA Clippers with a lot of confidence on Wednesday. The Blazers have a 2-1 record in the NBA standings and will try to make it 3-1 with a victory on the Clippers’ home floor.
The LA Clippers recovered nicely from the historic 124-73 beating they suffered at the hands of the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday. Ty Lue's side bounced back by defeating the Minnesota Timberwolves 124-101 two days later.
They will have to be at their best if they hope to stave off the Trail Blazers, who took down the defending champions LA Lakers 115-107 on Monday night.
Portland Trail Blazers vs LA Clippers: 3 Key matchups to look out for
The bulk of the scoring from both the Portland Trail Blazers and LA Clippers will come from their perimeter players. Kawhi Leonard, the two-time Finals MVP, will be a game time decision by coach Tyronn Lue, but we are assuming that he will play tonight.
There are a couple of very intriguing matchups in this game that fans will surely enjoy watching. It’s the game within the game that will determine who wins this battle of Western Conference rivals.
Check out our 3 key matchups for the Portland Trail Blazers and LA Clippers game:
#1 Derrick Jones Jr. vs Kawhi Leonard
Kawhi Leonard could return in this game after missing the last two with a mouth laceration he suffered when LA Clippers teammate Serge Ibaka accidentally elbowed him last week.
Leonard will have to be at full strength because Derrick Jones Jr. will not be playing nice when they face off. Jones, an excellent defender, blocked LeBron James emphatically during their Monday game. He is sure to employ a similar type of defense when he goes head-to-head with Leonard.
#2 CJ McCollum vs Paul George
Two of the best shooting guards in the game will do battle on the court at Staples Center.
Portland Trail Blazers guard CJ McCollum had a 44-point effort in a win against the Houston Rockets last weekend and leads the Blazers in scoring at 29.0 points per game.
For the LA Clippers, Paul George is averaging 22.3 points a night after four games this season. The 6-foot-8 George has a huge height advantage over McCollum who’s only 6-foot-3, but the Blazers guard is as crafty as any player in the league. This will be a shooting matchup that will be fun to watch.
#3 Damian Lillard vs Patrick Beverley
There’s no love lost between Damian Lillard and Patrick Beverley who have a history of bad blood between them. Beverley and George mocked Lillard after the Portland Trail Blazers star missed two crucial free throws during a game in the bubble last season.
The LA Clippers won but Lillard had his revenge when the Denver Nuggets beat Beverley and company who had a 3-1 series lead only to lose 4-3 in the Western Conference Semifinals last season.
When Beverley and Lillard meet for the first time this season, expect sparks to fly and a few barbs between the two during the game. Lillard, who is scoring 24.0 points a game this season for the Portland Trail Blazers, will have to bring his A-game against a tough defender like Beverley.Published 30 Dec 2020, 23:30 IST