No in-depth preview for tonight’s preseason game as the Los Angeles Clippers take on the Portland Trailblazers at 10:30 ET (7:30 PT). The game will be displayed on Prime Ticket for the LA natives and NBA TV for fans nation wide to enjoy. Before checking that out here are three quick thoughts headed into tonight’s contest:
1. Injuries Are Stealing the Show
After supposedly being declared out of tonight’s game after the Phoenix game due to “not being 100 percent”, Blake Griffin will be playing in tonight’s game. Unfortunately the star power forward opposite of him in Lamarcus Aldridge will be out tonight due to pain in his knee. They haven’t been the only Clippers-Blazers players dealing with injuries this summer. Matt Barnes, C.J. McCollum, J.J. Redick, Reggie Bullock, Will Barton, Dorrell Wright and most recently, Maalik Wayns have all victims of the injury bug. Outside of McCollum and Wayns, all of the named players should be available come the regular season as both teams will by vying for the playoffs this season.
2. Will DeAndre Jordan Keep This Up Tonight?
He’s all the hype this preseason. Coming into tonight, Jordan is averaging 13. points, 8.6 rebounds and 5 blocks per game. Those are excellent numbers by Jordan’s standard. When it comes to the Clippers winning a championship most thoughts pin back to DAJ. Well here’s another chance to show us the improvements he’s made in the offseason and how Doc Rivers will make him a force to reckon with.
An extremely strong preseason on the defensive end could get the media to consider him for legit which could lead to some jumping on a “DAJ for DPOY” bandwagon. Of course that matters on if he can be a staple in this defense come the regular season, but the premature thoughts must start somewhere.
3. Potential Playoff Matchup Here?
The Portland Trailblazers tailed off during the latter end of last season as their team was in the thick of the playoff race prior to injuries, fatigue and a lack of depth caught up with the club. They’ve bolstered their biggest weakness in bench depth (ranked last in bench points per game last season, h/t Hoops Stats) by adding rookie C.J. McCollum, Mo Williams, Dorrell Wright and Thomas Robinson and their lack of a productive center by trading for Robin Lopez. These additions could translate to a 7th or 8th seed.
On the other side we’ve spoken on who the Clippers have added to their club all offseason and those additions could be the reason why they wield a top-2 seed in the West. These teams played each other pretty well last season with only one of the four contests being a blowout though the Clippers won the season series 3-1. Watching Paul/Griffin spar with Lillard/Aldridge could make for a very entertaining series.