The real NBA season has yet to start but already fans are excited for their teams’ respective preseason debuts as this is their first chance to see their favorite players in action for the first time in the new season. The Los Angeles Clippers visit the Portland Trailblazers as part of an 8-game NBA schedule on Monday night.
For the teams’ starters, it is an opportunity to get their feet wet and build chemistry with their teammates; for others it is their chance to prove their worth as NBA players—either to crack the starting rotation or a place in the roster.
Game Preview: The Blazers begin their preseason at home at the newly named Moda Center or previously and popularly known as the Rose Garden in Portland.
Most of Portland’s starters from last season are returning this year, including rookie of the year Damian Lillard at point guard, Nicolas Batum at small forward and LaMarcus Aldridge at power forward.
Aldridge is questionable for this game with a hip flexor injury, but all eyes will be on the other big man, Robin Lopez, who was one of the key acquisitions by the Blazers in the off-season. Lopez has averages of 7.2 points and 3.9 rebounds per game in a 5-year NBA career playing for the Phoenix Suns and New Orleans Pelicans.
Other players acquired by Portland in the offseason were Dorrel Wright and Mo Williams, both of whom are pegged to be key players off the bench in the 2013-2014 NBA season. Williams is a 10-year NBA veteran who averages 13.8 points and 5.0 assists and last played with the Utah Jazz. Wright is a 9-year pro with averages of 9.2 points and 3.8 rebounds with stints with the Philadelphia 76ers and Golden State Warriors.
For the Clippers, the usual suspects will also be returning. The core of Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, Jamal Crawford and DeAndre Jordan are expected once again lead the charge for L.A. team in the 2013-2014 NBA season.
The Clips are definitely more loaded this year with offseason acquisitions like Jarred Dudley, JJ Redick and Darren Collison. All three players have started for their respective previous teams before and are expected to be key contributors for L.A. this season.
Game Odds: Los Angeles Clippers (-2) vs. Portland Trailblazers (O/U 192.5) Game time: 12 noon (Australian Eastern Standard Time)
Key Betting Trends (Against the Spread or ATS): - The Clippers have won 5 of their last 6 games vs. the Blazers - The Clippers are 4-2 ATS in their last 6 games vs. the Blazers
Clippers vs. Trailblazers Live Streaming