The Trail Blazers try to continue their outstanding defensive stretch and win their fifth straight when they host the Clippers, who have lost their last five road games.
The Clippers are 18-1 when they shoot 46.5 percent or better from the field, a trend that continued Sunday when they shot just over 45 percent in a 104-90 loss to the Heat. That setback closed a 6-3 homestand for the Clippers, who play 11 of their next 15 on the road.
Chris Paul scored 23 points against the Heat and he has tallied 11 or more assists in each of his past four matchups with the Trail Blazers. Blake Griffin has also played well against Portland lately, averaging 31.3 points and 9.0 rebounds in the past three meetings.
The Trail Blazers have held each of their last four opponents under 100 points, winning all four games by an average margin of 10.7 points. They beat the Lakers 106-94 on Sunday to move a season-best 22 games over .500 and they’re 25-2 when holding the opposition to 100 or fewer points.
Even with the main focus on defense, Portland’s offense remains as dynamic as ever thanks to Damian Lillard and LaMarcus Aldridge. The Trail Blazers rank near the top of the NBA with 103.8 points per game, 45.1 of which are provided by Lillard and Aldridge, who have the highest combined scoring average among teammates in the Western Conference.
Lillard scored 34 points against the Lakers on Sunday for his second 30-plus-point effort in his last four games. He had 25 points, seven rebounds and eight assists in Portland’s previous meeting with the Clippers this season, a 106-102 road loss on November 8 in a game where the Trail Blazers had one of their worst defensive efforts of the season.
Strong shooting has become extremely important for the Clippers this season and it played a significant role in that victory, as J.J. Redick scored 30 points on 11 of 13 shooting and the Clippers posted a 49.4 field goal percentage.