Clippers look to continue success against Blazers

NBA

The Los Angeles Clippers aim to continue their recent dominance over Portland when they visit the Trail Blazers on Tuesday night.

The Clippers have won the past five meetings, including two home victories this season by an average of 20 points. Los Angeles averaged 130.5 points in the triumphs.

It might not be an ideal time for the Trail Blazers to meet again, as star guard Damian Lillard (hamstring) is sidelined for the third straight game and center Jusuf Nurkic will miss the contest to rest his right knee.

Also, there is the fact that the red-hot Clippers have won 14 of their past 17 games.

Star forward Kawhi Leonard is back as well, as he returned from a four-game absence due to a foot injury to contribute 15 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists in 23 minutes during Sunday’s 124-105 home victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves.

The Clippers made 21 of 42 3-point attempts and led by as many as 38 points during the easy win.

“Bad basketball’s contagious; good basketball’s contagious,” Los Angeles guard Reggie Jackson said afterward. “Ball’s moving, shots are falling, everybody starts feeling it. The ball starts feeling a little small and the basket starts feeling a little bigger.”

Paul George scored 23 points in just 27 minutes due to the lopsided margin. That ended his streak of five consecutive 30-point efforts.

Overall, six players scored in double digits as the Clippers topped 120 points for the fifth time in the past eight games.

“When everybody is touching it and everybody is getting shots and we’re attacking the basket, we’re a tough team to beat,” Los Angeles coach Tyronn Lue said. “Since the All-Star break, I really like where we’re at.”

Slumping Portland isn’t so keen about its recent fortunes. The club has dropped six of its past nine games after losing 109-101 to the host Charlotte Hornets on Sunday.

Charlotte jumped on the Trail Blazers at the outset by making 10 of its first 11 shots and held a 44-24 lead after one quarter. Portland trailed by as many as 29 points in a loss that disappointed coach Terry Stotts.

“We talked about getting off to good starts defensively in the first quarter and obviously we didn’t do that,” Stotts said. “Their transition kind of set the tone for the quarter and then their 3-point shooting set the tone the rest of the way.”

Carmelo Anthony scored 24 points and CJ McCollum added 22 for the Trail Blazers, who shot just 39.6 percent from the field without Lillard.

Anthony vowed things will be different when Portland opens a four-game homestand on Tuesday.

“(Sunday) was a night that we allowed ourselves to get in a hole,” Anthony said. “They came out, jumped on us, up 20, we had to fight back. Tuesday will be different. We play the Clippers, different type of team, so we will prepare for the Clippers.”

George averaged 29.5 points and Leonard 28.5 in the two easy wins by the Clippers.

–Field Level Media

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