Portland (2-2) at LA Clippers (2-2)
When: Wednesday, April 27th 2016
Where: Staples Center, Los Angeles, CA
Time: 10:05 ET | TV: NBA TV
When Golden State’s Steph Curry went down with an MCL sprain the other night, Los Angeles Clippers fans thought maybe they would have a chance to defeat the Warriors in the next round, but then disaster struck. The next night, All-Star Chris Paul broke his right hand reaching in for a steal and will have surgery and more than likely done for the playoffs. Blake Griffin, who has battled back from injury himself, re-aggravated a quad in Monday’s Game 4 loss to the Portland Trail Blazers and he to is done for the season. Paul averaged 26.3 points in the first three games of the series and had 16 before going down in Game 4 while Griffin, who aggravated the quad sometime in the second half on Monday and tried to play through the injury until the middle of the fourth quarter, averaged 15 points and 8.8 rebounds. To make matters even worse, shooting guard J.J. Redick is battling a heel injury and is 5-of-23 from the field in the last two games. “We don’t have to be the best team,” coach Doc Rivers told reporters. “We just have to be the best team (Wednesday). And then we have to figure out how to do it one more time.”
The Portland Trail Blazers are not feeling sorry for the Clippers right now and will try and steal this series and take their chances with Golden State. The Trail Blazers took advantage of Paul’s absence in Game 4 and outscored the Clippers 32-20 in the fourth quarter, marking the second straight game they pulled away late. With the two home wins, Portland is now even with Los Angeles heading back to Staples Center. Damian Lillard struggled from the floor in three of the four games in the series, including a 4-of-15 effort in Game 4, but Portland is picking up its star with big efforts from players like Al-Farouq Aminu and Mason Plumlee. Aminu scored a career-high 30 points on 11-of-20 shooting to go along with 10 rebounds, three blocks and three assists in Monday’s triumph after going 11-of-37 in the first three games. Plumlee has averaged 17.5 rebounds and 9.5 assists in the last two games and will look to keep that going tonight.
I don’t know how the Clippers survive this series now not just from an injury standpoint, but mentally now. Portland smells blood and I think they take advantage and win the next two.
Pick: Blazers -3