NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Wednesday, February 12th (All times Eastern)
Portland Trail Blazers (36-16) at Los Angeles Clippers (36-18), 10:30 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Portland Trail Blazers are going through the NBA gauntlet and won't catch a break with Wednesday's matchup with the Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center.
The Blazers are playing a stretch of games against Indiana, Minnesota, Oklahoma City, the Clippers and San Antonio. They lost to the Pacers, defeated the Timberwolves and suffered a 98-95 setback versus the Thunder on Tuesday.
Robin Lopez had 17 points and 14 rebounds, Nicolas Batum scored 18 points and Damian Lillard added 16 for the Blazers, who shot a lousy 37.6 percent and committed 17 turnovers.
Rookie C.J. McCollum provided 15 points off the bench and LaMarcus Aldridge was limited to 12 points, but grabbed 12 rebounds. Aldridge missed a clear shot at the end and Oklahoma City sealed the win from the foul line.
"We had shooters on the court and whether LA shoots a jump shot or drives or passes, I can certainly live with the shot. He's made a living making that shot," Portland head coach Terry Stotts said about Aldridge's last shot.
The Blazers have alternated wins and losses over the last seven games and have a 17-10 road record this season.
Much like the Blazers, Los Angeles will face some talent in the next few games against Portland, San Antonio, Memphis and Oklahoma City.
The Clippers appear primed for their rough stretch after destroying the Philadelphia 76ers 123-78 on Sunday night. They welcomed the return of star point guard Chris Paul and scored the first 13 points of the game. The Clippers led 46-15 after the first quarter, 62-21 in the second after dunks by Blake Griffin and 89-33 late in the third quarter.
Paul, who missed 18 games with a Grade 3 AC joint separation in his right shoulder, finished with seven points, eight assists and four steals in just under 23 minutes in his return. L.A. was 12-6 without him.
"It felt great to play. It looked like it was our offense, but it was really our defense tonight. Preparation has a lot to do with it. We're all making plays, it's all about winning," Paul said.
Paul is 17 points shy of 11,000 in his career.
Griffin finished with 26 points, 11 rebounds and six assists, and is averaging 29.2 points and 8.6 rebounds in his last 12 games. He has scored at least 20 points in each of those contests.
Jamal Crawford finished with 21 points and DeAndre Jordan added 10 points, 20 rebounds and four blocks in the win for the Clippers, who have won seven of their last 10 games and are 2-1 on a five-game homestand. The Clippers, who have a 22-4 record as the host this season, posted their largest win in franchise history.
Crawford is averaging 23.4 ppg since Jan. 17 and has scored 19 or more points in 13 of the last 14 contests.
The Clippers are second in the NBA with 106.7 ppg and have scored 100 or more points in 10 straight home games. Portland leads the NBA with 107.7 ppg and defeated the Clippers 116-112 in overtime on Dec. 26 at the Moda Center.
Los Angeles has won five of the last seven meetings with Portland and four in a row at home in this series.
02/12 10:25:43 ET