Originally written on NorthWest Sports Beat  |  Last updated 1/27/13
Picimg_nba_mar_13_a145
Home and Home The Portland Trail Blazers are set to take on the Los Angeles Clippers for the second time in two nights, and while they had the home crowd behind them the first time around, they’ll be traveling to Staples Center for round 2. Matchup: Portland (22-21) @ Los Angeles Clippers (32-14) Venue: Staples Center Time: 6:30 PM PT Date: Sunday, Jan. 27, 2013 Nicolas Batum recorded the second triple-double of his career Saturday night. (Photo: Bruce Ely/The Oregonian) Portland was able to take down the Clippers on Saturday in dramatic fashion, and if they want to do the same on Sunday, they’ll have to play just as well on the road. Game Notes/ How They Match Up After watching these two teams face off just 24 hours before Sunday’s contest, we have a pretty good idea of how they match up. The Clippers have been a much better defensive group on the year, but when Portland gets out and plays an efficient game, their offense can handle just about anybody in the league. The surprising thing that came from the most recent matchup is that the Clippers dominated the glass. Despite having Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan on their side, they are only a middle-of-the-road rebounding team at best. On the season, Portland and Los Angles have been nearly identical, but L.A. had the edge in that department Saturday night. If Portland can keep this game close, it’s going to come down to which group can make the hustle plays when they need them. Los Angeles has the ability to run Portland out of the gym, but in a tight game, a young Portland team can find ways of winning. What to Watch: Portland Rather than one area to watch out for, the Blazers have one player to keep an eye on come Sunday. That player is Nicolas Batum. Nicolas Batum is the most improved player on this roster by a long shot, and his season keeps getting better and better as the year goes on. He has two triple-doubles in his last three games—the first two of his career—and he is showing that he can impact a game from all over the floor. As a distributor, Batum played the pick-and-roll game well against Los Angeles. He knew when to defer to his teammates and when to take over on his own, which is a veteran-like quality that he’s learned this season. He also showed he can make hustle plays, as he was all over the court both flying through the air and diving on the ground. Portland’s success doesn’t rely on Batum’s performance alone, but the better the forward plays, the easier life becomes for the Blazers. What to Watch: Los Angeles Los Angeles is the No. 2 team in the NBA when it comes to points in the paint, and they showed it in their one-point loss at the Rose Garden. They took full advantage of Portland’s weak interior defense, and they scored 56 points at the rim compared to the Blazers’ 32. Nobody should be surprised by how well the Clippers scored in the pain Saturday night, but what was surprising was their performance from long range. Aldridge and Blake Griffin will face off in a battle of the NBA’s top power forwards (Photo: Bruce Ely/The Oregonian) L.A. finished the game 7-of-16 from the three-point line, as they were taking smart shots and looking for open opportunities. A 43.8-percent showing was incredible compared to their season average of 35.1 percent, and if they can duplicate that number in back-to-back games, they’ll have the advantage. Key Matchup LaMarcus Aldridge was the low scorer of all five Trail Blazers starters Saturday night. Blake Griffin was the high scorer for the Clippers. That may not sound like the most intense battle on paper, but the matchup between the two All-Star forwards should be much more closely contested at Staples Center. The NBA is a physical game. While all players have a mutual respect for the physicality at hand, nobody likes to get hit by the same person over and over again. This is why playoff series get so intense, and this is why round 2 between Griffin and LaMarcus Aldridge will be that much better. On the boards, Griffin has the clear advantage. Aldridge, however, can score in a multitude of ways—ways Griffin has yet to establish. These two are different types of players at this stage in their careers, but both can get out and run, and both want to prove they are atop the ranks of game’s best power forwards. Injury Report Portland: DAY-TO-DAY—Sasha Pavlovic Los Angeles: DAY-TO-DAY—Chris Paul Prediction Portland took down the Clips at home Saturday night, but Staples Center will be a much more difficult place to pull out a win. Blazers 97 – Clippers 105 CLICK HERE TO CHECK OUT THE BLAZERS BLOG IN OUR CLUBHOUSE TODAY AT NWSB!
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Cam Cameron battling prostate cancer

RG3 to be held out 1-2 weeks after doctor changes mind

LA Kings offer Peter Budaj a professional tryout

Carlos Boozer hoping roster spot opens on playoff team

Starting EJ Manuel not a bad idea for Bills’ third preseason game

Tim Beckman fired by Illinois amid mistreatment allegations

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Chip Kelly reveals thought process behind Bradford trade

Charles Barkley on ex-agent: ‘I’d blow his damn brains out’

Bryce Harper doesn’t seem to care if Nationals make playoffs

Could the Spurs backups make playoffs in the east?

Josh Howard reportedly attempting NBA comeback

Reggie Wayne feels like a rookie with the Patriots

The NFL’s season kickoff isn’t going as planned, but plans don’t matter in the NFL

Jonathan Kraft: Patriots haven’t apologized to ESPN’s Chris Mortensen

Ballmer declines $60M/yr TV deal, could start streaming service

Nationals forced to re-issue massive bobblehead order

Jay Gruden would like the media to stop calling him fat

Spieth: Could new irons be reason for missed cut at Barclays?

The Opening Drive: Where have all the great UM tailbacks gone?

The 1980s Lakers represent the NBA’s ultimate creation story

The Orioles’ frustrating season

Andy Reid on calling perfect play: 'That’s like a good cheeseburger'

Five greatest NBA players of all-time

Finding signs of life for the Boston Red Sox

Jerry Rice: Adrian Peterson still number one pick in fantasy

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

The NFL’s season kickoff isn’t going as planned, but plans don’t matter in the NFL

The Opening Drive: What happened to all the great Michigan tailbacks?

The 1980s Lakers represent the NBA’s ultimate creation story

The Orioles’ frustrating season

Five greatest NBA players of all-time

Finding signs of life for the Red Sox

10 NFL players set for down seasons in 2015

Why NFL preseason games matter

August's winners and losers in sports

How the Chicago Cubs are swinging

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker