NBA Playoff Matchup: Portland Trail Blazers at Los Angeles Clippers
Date / Time – Sunday, April 17 – 10:40 PM ET
Site: Staples Center – Los Angeles
TV Coverage: TNT
Pointspread: Clippers -8
Total: 210.5 points
What can you say about the Portland Trail Blazers except that it is an extraordinary story of overachievement? Here is a team that no one figured to be a part of the Western Conference playoff race, having lost so much in the way of key personnel, yet here they are, with the #5 seed in the conference and a lot of young players who are developing. Now they take on the Los Angeles Clippers in the opening round of the post-season. Game 1 gets underway at 10:40 PM ET at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. Remember that BetAnySports customers can get reduced juice wagering before the game starts, and then engage in the liveliest in-game action available anywhere, with Live Betting Extra, which allows you to challenge the NBA playoff odds in real time.
No team in the NBA lost as many players as the Blazers did in the off-season. And they were key pieces to the club that went to last year’s playoffs, losing to the Memphis Grizzlies in the first. Forwards Nicolas Batum and LaMarcus Aldridge, guards Aaron Afflalo and Wesley Matthews and center Robin Lopez were all gone with the wind. That would seem a starting lineup.
Except for Damian Lillard. The point guard from Weber State has responded in more of a leadership role as he has scored 25 points per game, and he has been joined in the backcourt by CJ McCollum, who has truly had a breakout season, tallying 20.8 ppg to give the Blazers one of the more dynamic backcourts in the NBA. And there has been an amazing mesh of role players, coordinated by TerryStotts, who most certainly deserves a lot of consideration for the coach of the year award.
These guys are all basically “no-name” people, and one of them is Ed Davis, the former North Carolina standout who has come off the bench to hit 61% and give the Blazers some length on defense. One of the other people Stotts has inserted who has been very effective as a starter is Maurice Harkless, who has registered an Offensive Rating of 124 and a plus-minus figure of +12.2 per game in that role. he also shoots 47% from the field.
Clearly the talent level is not the same in Portland as it is with the Clippers. But the backcourt can match up just fine; Lillard, by this time, has become a handful for anybody to guard, even Chris Paul, who is an All-Defensive team stalwart. And there might even be a “hacking” episode here, to take advantage of DeAndre Jordan’s ineptitude at the line. Jordan is just 43% from the charity stripe, and he has almost twice as many attempts as anyone else on the Clippers’ roster. No wonder.
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