LA Clippers (0-0) @ Portland Trail Blazers (1-0)
7:30 p.m. PST
October 27, 2016
PORTLAND, Ore. — By time the LA Clippers take the floor in Portland to face the Trail Blazers, the other 29 teams will have all played. This nationally televised game will be the only regular season game in Portland. The last time the Clippers were here, their season ended in a 6-game 1st round loss to the Trail Blazers.
Just two weeks ago, these teams played in the preseason, with the Clippers winning a close contest. If that game was any indication, this will be a fast-paced game that puts a lot of focus on LA’s frontcourt advantage and a Portland bench that needs to take advantage of LA’s second unit.
It’s fair to wonder about rust for the Clippers as well, especially compared to Portland. The Clippers haven’t faced another team since last Tuesday’s preseason win in Sacramento. On the flipside, Portland played two preseason games after LA’s trip to Sacramento, and PG Damian Lillard obliterated Utah’s perimeter defense for 39 points in a regular season home win Tuesday night, including 16 in the 4th quarter/Lillard Time.
Now, Lillard has typically struggled against the Clippers. In 15 regular season games, he averages only 16.2 points on 38.7 percent from the field, well below his overall career averages of 21.4 points per game and 42.7 percent from the field. In the 1st round against the Clippers, Lillard averaged 22.0 points per game, but shot only 37.4 percent from the field.
Chris Paul, on the other hand, has averaged 22.7 points and 11.3 assists in 12 games against Portland since Lillard entered the league in 2012. Paul has also made 49.5 percent from the field, and he has nearly as many steals (28) as turnovers (29) in those 12 games, 9 of which Paul and the Clippers won.
Finally, on this season-opening Thursday for the Clippers, we have to go TBT and remember that Blake Griffin’s first career game came against the Trail Blazers in 2010:
With this serving as a contract year for Griffin AND a comeback year, it is going to be exciting to see where his season goes. His last game in Portland was Game 4, when he re-aggravated his quadriceps injury (and Paul broke his hand). The redemption starts tonight.
Clippers are im Portland tonight, the last of 30 teams to hit the floor for the regular season! What is your 2016-2017 outlook?
— ClipperBlog (@clipperblog) October 27, 2016