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Portland vs L.A. Clippers Picks, Predictions & Odds
The Portland Trail Blazers went though some chaos earlier this month and scuttled in the immediate wake. Now, though, the team still is hanging on the edge of the playoff chase in the Western Conference, but has almost run out of room for error. The Los Angeles Clippers were on an apparent road to implosion a little more than a week ago, but they are now riding a three-game win streak and have kept themselves ensconced in the No. 4 playoff slot in the West. A playoff atmosphere is likely to ensue in Tinseltown Friday night when the Clippers play host to the Trail Blazers. A win for L.A. will clinch the season series, as the Clippers won two of the first three meetings – including a 74-71 win in Portland in their last meeting. Here’s a look at what to expect from both teams, plus my final score prediction to help you make your NBA picks tonight.
Portland Trail Blazers (24-27) @ Los Angeles Clippers (29-21), 10:30 p.m. ET
The Blazers have been wandering, trying to find their way, as they have not won consecutive games since late January, going 13-20 since that time. Portland has alternated wins and losses in its last six games and is coming off a 99-93 win at home against New Orleans. Despite the struggles, Portland is just three games back in the loss column from seventh place in the West and has half of its April games at home. The Blazers are right in the middle of the pack in the NBA in scoring offense (97 ppg) and defense (96 ppg). Portland is an athletic team that will challenge teams, however, the Blazers have given up 100 or more points in each of its last five losses, and hasn’t scored 100 itself in seven-straight games.
The Clippers, on the other hand, have found their stride since talk swirled around coach Vinny Del Negro losing the team. The Clips have now won three straight by an average of 15 points following a 103-86 rout of Phoenix Wednesday night. L.A. has allowed 85, 85 and 86 points in their last three games, after giving up an average of 104 ppg in their three prior losses. The wins have put the Clips solidly in fourth place in the West, and two games behind the division-leading Lakers for the No. 3 slot. Los Angeles has won five straight at home, allowing no more than 91 points in each of the last seven home contests. The Clips will have to keep up that trend to hold off the pesky and athletic Blazers, who seems to perform better when the tempo pushes scores into the upper-90s.
A look at the NBA odds shows the Clippers favored by 8.5 points, while the total sits at 188 points. If the Blazers want to entertain any hopes of getting back into the playoff hunt, this would be a good step. To make a playoff run, Portland will likely need to run as much as possible – especially against a Clippers team that has done a better job of late taking away opponents’ tendencies on the offensive end. With the athleticism on display, this should be an entertaining game – with the LaMarcus Aldridge-Blake Griffin matchup at the power-forward position being of particular interest. If either player gets an upper hand, that team gets a decided advantage in this game. However, the Clippers have Chris Paul – the Blazers do not, and that may likely prove to be the difference in this game.
Final Score Prediction: Clippers 105, Blazers 93