Tonight the Los Angeles Clippers will host the Portland Trail Blazers at 7 p.m. for a rematch. The last time these two teams played against each other, the Clippers barely edged over the Trail Blazers, 107-101. Portland had not yet signed Carmelo Anthony who has been putting up incredible numbers since his debut. He is currently averaging 17.7 points, 2.2 assists and six boards. Los Angeles was missing their superstar Paul George as he was out for the first 11 games of the season due to shoulder surgeries. George plays a crucial role on the Clippers as he is currently averaging 23.4 points, 3.6 assists and 6.3 rebounds.
Ahead of tonight’s game against the Trail Blazers, the Clippers released their injury report. According to Clippers reporter Jovan Buha, the list reads JaMychal Green (tailbone contusion) as questionable for tonight’s game, Landry Shamet (high left ankle sprain) and Rodney McGruder (right hamstring strain). Neither of their superstars, Kawhi Leonard or Paul George are listed. This game will be a tough one as it will be a competition between, Leonard, George and Lou Williams vs. Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum & Melo.
Clippers vs. Trail Blazers
The Clippers struggled to find momentum the last time they played against the Trail Blazers. Going into the second half they were ahead, 47-40, but Portland picked up the pace at the start of the third. Trail Blazers ruled the third quarter as they outscored the Clippers by 13 points. They snatched the lead and went into the fourth ahead by six, 76-70. The Clippers didn’t find their rhythm until the fourth quarter when The Klaw and Williams dominated the court. It was Williams who hit quick jumper followed by a three that gave the Clippers the last lead of the game.
Leonard led the Clippers with 27 points, four assists and 13 boards while Williams trailed him with 26 points, eight assists and three rebounds. Lillard and McCollum both led the Trail Blazers in points with 22 each. Lillard also tacked on six assists and six rebounds while McCollum tallied three assists and seven boards. The Clippers’ victory was credited to defense as they only had four successful 3-pointers. Against the Clippers’ defense the Trail Blazers only shot 37.5% from the field and they barely scored over 100-points.
Per Esnaashari, Clippers head coach Doc Rivers said in an interview, “It’s our third game that we’ve won completely because of our defense. Our offense was below average, and we’re still winning basketball games. That’s a great sign for the early going.”
Carmelo Anthony’s Return
Anthony didn’t play the last time the Trail Blazers played against the Clippers as he had not yet been singed to an NBA team. Anthony played last season for the Houston Rockets but was traded away after only playing in 10 games. Since then, Anthony struggled to find another team to sign with. It wasn’t until Nov 14 that ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Portland would be signing the 10-time NBA All Star. Anthony made his season debut against the New Orleans Pelicans five days later on November 19.
Ahead of tonight’s game, Leonard and PG voiced their opinions on Anthony’s return. Leonard said in a post game interview posted by Tomer Azarly of ClutchPoints, “I’m happy for him. He’s able to get an opportunity… It’s well deserved. I don’t think he was treated the right way, how they kind of left him out there being a future Hall-of-Famer. He’s still got a lot of basketball left.”
After tonight’s game the Clippers will have a two day break before they play against the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday. This will be the first time since George’s season debut that the team has had more than one day off between games. This will give the Clippers the opportunity to have PG-13 and the Klaw practice together for the first time. The Bucks currently have the leagues best record, 18-3. The last time the Clippers played against the Bucks they didn’t play Leonard or George and lost by only five, 129-124. If the Clippers practice at least once with their dynamic duo and both George and Leonard play against reigning NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, they definitely have a chance at taking the Bucks down.