The NBA’s (totally awesome) second season is finally upon us.
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The Clippers have waited a year to get the bitter taste of last year’s devastating postseason exit out of their collective mouths. Portland is mortally weak at the 4/5 spots on defense, and Mason Plumlee, Meyers Leonard and Ed Davis are all going to have to step up to the challenge in this series. But since Harkless joined that starting group, the results have been shocking.
“It’s different in the playoffs because it’s a different environment”, center DeAndre Jordan said.
Midway through the second quarter, Paul scored 12 of the Clippers’ last 15 points to give them a 50-42 lead at the break. Stotts verbally jousted with Rivers during a preseason game, and McCollum told reporters that Rivers was protecting his son Austin when he declined to allow McCollum to play in a game between the teams in January after McCollum had inadvertently been left off the active list.
This may be the most interesting first-round matchup in the Western Conference. (Sorry, Rockets, but you just aren’t good enough to inspire that kind of reaction.) The whining, the flopping, the outrage at the lack of foul calls, Chris Paul’s nut punches-it all adds up to one rat king of terribleness.
Damian Lillard, for all his incredible talent and leadership, will be pressed when matched up against Chris Paul, whose ability to attack and score from multiple ears, as well as make nearly every pass in the book, is going to be a problem.
After injuring the heel against the Grizzlies in the penultimate game of the season, Redick sat out the regular season finale the next day.
The series pits Clippers owner Steve Ballmer against Blazers owner Paul Allen, who co-founded Microsoft where Ballmer used to be CEO. The Clippers, though, are a -304 favorite on the series prices at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. after winning three of four regular-season matchups against Portland, which is a +200 underdog. The Blazers tried to make it interesting, but failed to climb within single digits as the Clippers made run after run and held on for an easy win even with Hack-A-DeAndre Jordan taking over down the stretch.
How efficient will Damian Lillard be?
“Other than good to see an Oklahoma grad play well, it was, like I said, the best he’s played since he’s come back”. It’s almost impossible to find objective data to support this, but such a move should be a big boost to Lillard’s offensive output. But Matthews’ late-season Achilles injury messed with the team’s chemistry, and they were eliminated in the first round by a strong Memphis team. Lillard went on an absolute tear since being snubbed for an All-Star slot, while McCollum has to be the frontrunner for the Most Improved ballot. There maybe be a lot of creative cross-matches instead. But that number is hugely inflated by Redick’s outstanding season. If needed, Game 5 will be in L.A., Game 6 will be in Portland, and Game 7 will be in L.A. again.
While it’s probably fair to say that might happen on more than a few teams, it certainly is something to keep on eye on this series.