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NBA Weekend Preview: Clippers Need To See If Chris Paul Can Play

Written by Andrew Scofield   
Thursday, 24 January 2013 22:06

Los Angeles Clippers @ Portland Trail Blazers – Saturday, January 26The Los Angeles Clippers lost to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday night, not just because Oklahoma City is strong, but because Chris Paul couldn't play. This might be an issue for L.A.

Los Angeles Clippers @ Portland Trail Blazers – Saturday, January 26

In the realm of sport betting online, you're probably going to find a lot of debate about this game among bookies and the betting students who scour various 5dimes.com reviews during an NBA season. The calculus involved in assessing this game is as complex as anything you might see in online poker. The thing that one needs to realize is that while the Clippers have established a terrific pace this season and have remained one of the top teams in the league, they might not be at full strength in this game. Superstar point guard Chris Paul did not play in Tuesday night's 109-97 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder, slowed down by injuries in what has become a recurring pattern over the past few seasons. Paul's body has been banged up and worn down as the playoffs arrived last season, and it seems that the 2012-2013 season will be no different in that regard.

 

Because of the need to guard Paul's health and keep him relatively fresh for the postseason, the Clippers will probably limit Paul's minutes in this game. Paul will probably be able to play on Saturday night in Portland, but the extent of his effectiveness and, moreover, his durability will certainly be at issue in this contest. The Clippers certainly have plenty of scoring options, beginning with forward Blake Griffin and continuing with knockdown shooters such as Matt Barnes. The Clippers can dip into a deep bench, and they can get muscular rebounding and defense from big man DeAndre Jordan. There's still a lot to like about the Clippers, who have the resources to win this game.

Portland, though, is going to treat this game as a very big deal. The young Blazers have wobbled in recent weeks, falling on Monday night at home to the Washington Wizards. The Blazers probably thought they could roll the ball out, conserve their energy a bit, and win in the fourth quarter against one of the worst teams in the league, but they paid a price for drifting too much against Washington. That loss could legitimately be seen as an indictment of the Blazers and their unsteady brand of ball, but on the other hand, it so often happens in sports that after a team loses to a team it shouldn't have lost to, it beats a team that's above its pay grade. Portland is going to double down on an emotional level in this game. It will dig in and play the Clippers with all of the passion that was missing against the Wizards this past Monday. Portland, in the midst of an extended homestand, should be able to deliver the goods and pull out a close win over Los Angeles.

 
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