Los Angeles – The Portland Trail Blazers will invade Staples Center in a meeting with the Los Angeles Clippers in their first game of a back-to-back to close out the 2012-13 NBA campaign.
However, the Trail Blazers (33-47) will be short-handed again with LaMarcus Aldridge (ankle) and Wesley Matthews (ankle) out. CSNNW.com reported Monday night that Nicolas Batum will sit out the remaining two games to rest his sore right shoulder.
Aldridge and Matthews will be re-eavaluted before the Trail Blazers take on the Golden State Warriors tomorrow night at the Rose Garden.
Trail Blazers Head Caoch Terry Stotts will start Damian Lillard, Will Barton, Victor Claver, JJ Hickson and Meyers Leonard. Even though his team has lost 11 consecutive games and he's without three of his starters, he's adamant that they are still out there competing at a high level.
"The guys are out there trying to win a game," Stotts said. "None of us like losing. The Clippers are going to be competing. So yeah, we're trying to win games."
The hot Clippers (54-26), who are winners of their last five, will definitely not let off the gas tonight as they are in a unique situation: They are a half game behind the Memphis Grizzlies (55-26) in the Western Conference.
Los Angeles has the fourth seed locked up by clinching the Pacific Division. But, if the current fifth-seeded Memphis ends the season with a better record than Los Angeles, Memphis will get homecourt advantage in the first round of the playoffs.
With homecourt advantage on the line, the Trail Blazers will get the Clippers' best.
“We definitely want to get a win before this season is over,” Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard said after Sunday's loss to Denver. “That's what we play for, and that's what we're shooting for.”
The Clippers lead this season series 2-1. With a win, they would have won the season series two straight years for the first time since the 2005-06 and 2006-07 season.
Tonight's game will be televised on TNT and 1190 AM/102.3 FM KEX will have the radio call at 7:30.
Los Angeles Clippers
F Caron Butler
F Blake Griffin
C DeAndre Jordan
G Chris Paul
G Willie Green
Portland Trail Blazers
F Victor Claver
F JJ Hickson
C Meyers Leonard
G Damian Lillard
G Will Barton