The Trail Blazers will be out to improve to 6-0 at home Tuesday night as they look to avenge an earlier loss this month to the Clippers.
Los Angeles (4-2) has won three straight starting with a 93-88 home victory over Portland (6-2) on Jan. 1. The Trail Blazers fell behind by 17 points after three quarters and came up short despite a 36-point fourth quarter.
“I think it’s a game we feel we gave away,” Portland forward Gerald Wallace said. “We understand what we have to do better now, especially playing at home so just have to take care of business.”
Wallace was held scoreless for the only time this season, but he’s been a much different player at home. He’s averaging 21.2 points in Portland’s 5-0 start at the Rose Garden compared to 4.7 on the road, and the Trail Blazers have won all six games when he’s scored at least 10.
He had 16 points Sunday and Portland scored 28 off Cleveland’s 24 turnovers in a 98-78 home win.
“We got some points off of our defense,” coach Nate McMillan said. “When you start to see that ball go through the basket, normally NBA players start to play better defense.”
This matchup will showcase the talents of star forwards LaMarcus Aldridge for Portland and Blake Griffin for Los Angeles. Griffin has yet to be held under 20 points this season, and the Blazers are 5-0 when Aldridge scores more than 20. They nearly finished with identical numbers in the first meeting, as Aldridge had 19 points and nine boards while Griffin had 20 and 10.
Los Angeles ended a five-game slide against Portland in that sloppy contest as each team had 21 turnovers. Raymond Felton had a season-high six for the Trail Blazers as he was outplayed by Chris Paul.
Paul had a season-low nine points in Saturday’s 92-86 home win over Milwaukee. The Clippers limited the Bucks to 36.3 percent shooting - a season low for a Los Angeles opponent.
“I never go into a game saying I’m going to get 15 or 20 points,” said Paul, who had seven assists. “I’m just going to take whatever the defense gives me.”
“We have so many scorers and so many weapons that even if the ball doesn’t go in sometimes, we’ll still be able to score points,” Griffin said. “As good as our new guys are, that’s what makes that transition easier. Guys like Chauncey and Caron, because of how good they are and how hard they work and how much they love the game, it just flows a little bit better than it would otherwise.”
Los Angeles has yet to outrebound an opponent, averaging an NBA-low 35.3 boards. The Clippers were outrebounded 42-37 on Saturday.
“We still struggled on the glass, which is frustrating but something we just have to keep working on,” coach Vinny Del Negro said.
Both teams are starting back-to-back sets. The Trail Blazers will host Orlando on Wednesday while the Clippers will return home to play Miami.