In Good Shape
The Blazers could be in good shape to make it two in a row away from home against the depleted Clippers as the teams conclude their home-and-home series Saturday night at Staples Center.
Oddsmakers from Sportsbook.com have made Portland –5.5 point spread favorites (NBA Odds) for today’s game, the over/under has been set at 192 total points (Matchup). Our public betting information shows that 88% of bets for this game have been placed on Portland –5.5 (View NBA Bet Percentages).
Portland (36-33) beat Los Angeles for the second consecutive time this season with a 107-102 home win Friday night and can win its first season series from the Clippers since 2002-03.
The Trail Blazers' 82-80 victory at Los Angeles on Feb. 27 was their first win at Staples since they were victorious in consecutive trips on Feb. 18, 2002, and again on Dec. 18, 2002.
Pulling off a repeat Saturday might not be too tough for Portland, which will face a Clippers' team that has lost six in a row and could be without leading scorer Corey Maggette and forward Tim Thomas.
With star Elton Brand and point guard Shaun Livingston having missed the entire season due to injuries, and center Chris Kaman sidelined the last seven games with back problems, getting by without Maggette and Thomas could be a major hurdle for the Clippers.
Maggette, who averages 22.4 points and had 32 in the Clippers' home loss to Portland in February, missed Friday's game with a sore shoulder.
Thomas, who scored 42 points combined in his previous two contests, left Friday's game in the first quarter with a stomach virus.
Portland's LaMarcus Aldridge dominated in their absence, totaling 22 points, 12 rebounds and a career-high seven assists for the Trail Blazers, who outscored the Clippers 30-18 in the third quarter to take control.
Aldridge, the second-year standout who averages 17.8 points on the season, is scoring 24.4 points per game over his last eight.
"It becomes a simple game when you've got a guy who can score in the low post,'' said Portland coach Nate McMillan, whose team has alternated wins and losses in its last six contests and is 6 1/2 games out of the final playoff spot in the competitive Western Conference. "That's a weapon, that's an option we were hoping to develop this season and it's happening.''
Aldridge, Portland's leading scorer in three straight games and five of the last eight, has become a dependable low-post compliment to All-Star guard Brandon Roy, who had 21 points Friday and is averaging 21.2 in his last 11 games.
"The young fellows, Roy and Aldridge, I love their game,'' said Los Angeles guard Cuttino Mobley, who had 24 points and seven rebounds Friday. "They're smart and know how to play.''
Third-year center Josh Powell added 21 points for the Clippers, who shot a season-high 56.2 percent Friday, but turned the ball over 15 times and allowed more than 105 points for the fifth time in six games. Los Angeles is giving up an average of 111.3 points during its current six-game losing streak.
By: Marc Young - theSpread.com - Email Us
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