After to losing a season-high six straight games before finally securing a 100-80 win over the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday night, the Portland Trail Blazers appear to be back on track again.
Looking to knock them back off track is the Los Angeles Clippers in a back-to-back home-and-home series beginning tonight at the Rose Garden.
“This is an important stretch for our team,” Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard said. “We're starting to enter the rough part of our schedule so it's going to be very important that we take it one day at a time and try to get as many wins as possible.”
The Trail Blazers (21-21) all-time, have defeated the Clippers 136 times during the regular season, the most wins they have over any other NBA opponent. Times have changed in Los Angeles being that the Clippers aren't that team you can just count as an automatic loss on the schedule.
These two games will be the second and third meeting between these two teams this season. The Clippers took care of business in their first meeting with the Trail Blazers in a 103-90 win in Portland.
One-time Trail Blazer Jamal Crawford led the Clippers with 25 points off the bench.
The Clippers (32-12) have been in a little funk as of late. They've lost three consecutive games and their last loss came at the hands of the Phoenix Suns, the second to last worst team in the Western Conference (by standings).
Their floor general Chris Paul, has sat out the previous two games with a bruised right kneecap and the promising young guard Eric Bledsoe has started in his place. There is no time table for Paul's return. However, he is expected to miss tonight's game.
“They're an elite team with Chris Paul as the point guard,” Trail Blazers Head Coach Terry Stotts said. “He's arguably the best point guard in the league. He scores, he facilitates, he makes players better. He's what makes them go. But with that being said, without him, they have a lot of talent on the floor. They have a lot of confidence, athleticism and they certainly have enough guys to fill his void in the short term.”
Sasha Pavlovic (plantar fasciitis) will likely be inactive tonight for the Trail Blazers. He did not practice yesterday.
Tonight's home game is the last of a five-game homestand. Next week they'll take on the Utah Jazz and Dallas Mavericks at home before they embark on their six-game road trip followed by the All-Star break.
Tonight's game will be televised on KGW at 7 p.m. and on 1190 AM/102.3 FM KEX radio.