NBA Odds, Pick, Prediction for Clippers vs. Trail Blazers: L.A. Has Star Power Edge With Damian Lillard Out Tuesday (April 20)
Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Paul George #13 of the LA Clippers.
- The Los Angeles Clippers hit the road to face the Portland Trail Blazers in a battle between two Western conference playoff contenders.
- Injuries on both teams have taken a toll on both squads with Damian Lillard and Kawhi Leonard ruled out.
- Joe Dellara previews Tuesday night's matchup below.
Editor’s Note: The Clippers announced that Kawhi Leonard has been managing right foot soreness and will sit out Tuesday’s game against the Portland Trail Blazers. For more, check out today’s injury report.
Clippers vs. Trail Blazers Odds
|Trail Blazers Odds||+4.5|
|Moneyline||-215 / +170|
|Time||10 p.m. ET|
|Odds as of Tuesday and via PointsBet.|
If the season ended today, tonight’s game between the Los Angeles Clippers and Portland Trail Blazers would be the No. 3 vs. No. 6 matchup in the first round of the Western Conference Playoffs.
Fortunately for the Blazers, this isn’t the postseason because they are down their best player, Damian Lillard, and their oft-injured starting center, Jusuf Nurkic.
Let’s break down this matchup despite the Blazers missing their floor general.
Los Angeles Clippers
The Clippers are somehow underrated this season. They are +700 to win the NBA title, likely will not need to play the LA Lakers until the Western Conference Finals, and they’re improved with the addition of Serge Ibaka (out for this game though). The Clippers have the second-best point differential in the league (+7.7 points per 100 possessions) due to their No. 1 offense (119.7 points per 100) and 11th ranked defense.
Kawhi Leonard returned on Sunday after missing the previous four games with foot soreness and nearly posted a triple-double with 15 points, 11 rebounds, and eight assists. His return stabilizes this team because his 30.4% usage rate is impossible for any of the role players to fully absorb.
When LA’s dynamic duo of Leonard and Paul George share the floor, the Clippers are a whopping +17.0 points per 100 possessions and have a 60.6% eFG%, all marks that are in the 99th percentile of all lineups in the NBA, according to Cleaning the Glass. With this tandem together, expect the Clippers to continue their offensive onslaught on the Blazers.
Portland Trail Blazers
This team revolves heavily around Lillard and with him already being ruled out, it’s going to be a tough night for the Trail Blazers. They will miss his 34.6% usage rate and elite +11.2 points per 100 on offense.
Additionally, the Blazers will be without Nurkic as they are managing his right knee to ensure he is available for the playoffs. Without Nurkic, Enes Kanter slides into the starting lineup and he’s averaged 13.4 points and 13.4 rebounds in 34 games without Nurkic this season.
This Blazers team have outperformed expectations this season — their actual win percentage (.571) is far better than their pythagorean win percentage (.482) — and much of it is a result of Lillard’s clutch performances in close games. Over the course of the season, they have a -0.1 point differential and it’s because they have an elite offense, but a miserable defense (29th in the league), per Cleaning the Glass.
Without Lillard, these numbers crater. In all lineups without him, they are -3.5 points per 100 possessions, and the team’s eFG% drops by over two percentage points. Without Lillard to put together a transcendent performance, the Blazers should struggle against this Clippers’ defense.
Clippers-Trail Blazers Pick
This spread is set at -8.5 and this season the Clippers have been excellent against the spread as a favorite, per Bet Labs.
On the flip side, the Blazers have struggled as home underdogs, and are just 3-5 ATS, failing to cover by an average margin of 8.88 points.
This matchup simply comes down to the availability of Lillard. When he missed their game against the Hornets, who were without LaMelo Ball, Gordon Hayward, and Devonte Graham, the Blazers lost by seven. That tells you everything you need to know about this Trail Blazers team without Lillard –they aren’t very good.
The Clippers should be able to score at will against this porous Portland defense, and I fully expect them to cover here and would play this up to -9.
Pick: Clippers -8.5