The Clippers will be anxious to erase the memory of blowing a 23-point lead to the now 13-0 Warriors last night, so look for them to take their frustrations out on the reeling Blazers.
The visitors had the undefeated Golden State Warriors on the ropes last night before blowing a 23-point lead, but at least they appear to have an opponent against whom they can take out some frustrations Friday night and quickly wipe that meltdown from their memory as those Los Angeles Clippers (6-5, 4-7 ATS) pay a visit to the slumping Portland Trail Blazers (4-9, 6-7 ATS) at the Moda Center in Portland, OR at 10:05 ET in a game available on Prime Ticket.
The point spread at Bet365 has Los Angeles as a modest road favorite for this contest with the current line at -3 with odds of -110.
Blazers Not the Same without LaMarcus
The Clippers led Golden State by 23 points at one point and still led by 14 at halftime, but then the defense took the rest of the night off allowing 70 points in the second half with 39 of those coming in the fourth quarter as the Warriors rallied for the 124-117 win to stay perfect at 13-0. That makes this game a big character test for the Clippers, especially with the quick back-to-back turnaround.
But more importantly, the Clippers draw an opponent that they should handle with ease, as the Trail Blazers are quickly discovering that life is not easy without their departed superstar LaMarcus Aldridge, who was stolen by the San Antonio Spurs in free agency. The Blazers began this season well enough at 4-2, but they have now been the losing NBA picks in their last seven games in a row to fall to the Northwest Division basement, an area that Portland is not familiar with.
Paul Sparkled in his Return
Not all the news was bad during the Clippers’ collapse last night as point guard Chris Paul returned after missing the previous two games with a groin injury, and he was not the worse for wear. In fact, it was quite the contrary as Paul scored a season high 35 points while also dishing out eight assists while adding four rebounds and three steals.
Unfortunately Paul was done in by his counterpart at point guard last night as Stephen Curry played like the reigning MVP that he is pouring in 40 points while also grabbing 11 rebounds. Still, Paul’s stat line Thursday would usually result in a victory and the Clippers did shoot a blistering 50.0 percent from the field overall going 44-for-88!
Great shooting has been nothing new for the Clippers this year as they are third in the NBA in scoring with 106.2 points per game and also third in field goal percentage at 46.9 percent. The issue has been on the defensive end, just as it was last night, with Los Angeles ranking 26th in points against at 106.0 per game. That cannot make defensive-minded head coach Doc Rivers very happy, but at least the Clips are capable of improvement vs. a struggling team tonight.
Longest Skid in Three Seasons
If you are wondering when was the last time the Blazers lost at least seven games in a row, it was when they lost the final 13 games of the 2012-13 season. Portland rebounded by making the playoffs the last two seasons helped by the fact that they were relatively healthy each of those years and thus never did find out what it was like to be without Aldridge for a prolonged amount of time, as he even played through a thumb injury that required surgery after last season.
Well, people may now get a greater appreciation for one of the more underrated superstars in basketball by how bad the Trail Blazers have looked without him. The latest Portland setback was a 108-103 overtime loss in Houston Wednesday in the Rockets’ first game after the surprising firing of former coach Kevin McHale, and if not for the overtime period the Blazers would have been held below 100 points for the third straight game.
Portland even has a losing 2-3 record here at the Moda Center so far, a venue where the Blazers have been traditionally tough through the years, and they too are having some defensive issues ranking 19th in the league in points against at 103.3 per game.
Clippers Head-to-Head Success
Finally, the Clippers are a nice 10-5 straight up in the last 15 head-to-head meetings between these teams, but more importantly from a betting perspective, Los Angeles is 5-2 ATS in its last seven trips to Portland with all of those games being vs. better Blazers’ teams than this one.
Expect that trend to continue here, as Los Angeles quickly eradicates the memories of last night with a decisive road win in Portland on Friday.
NBA Pick: Clippers -3 (-110)