National Basketball Association
L.A. Clippers at Portland
When: 10:30 PM ET, Wednesday, April 16, 2014
Where: Moda Center at the Rose Quarter, Portland, Oregon
The Los Angeles Clippers have set a franchise record with 57 victories and still have a chance at landing the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference when they visit the Portland Trail Blazers in Wednesday’s regular-season finale. Los Angeles recorded a 117-105 win over the Denver Nuggets on Tuesday and can claim the second seed by defeating Portland combined with an Oklahoma City loss to Detroit. Portland has won four straight games and is locked in as the West’s No. 5 seed.
All-Star forward LaMarcus Aldridge is expected to be held out but the other four starters will be on the floor at the start of the game for the Trail Blazers. Guards Damian Lillard and Wesley Matthews, forward Nicolas Batum and center Robin Lopez have started every game and coach Terry Stotts wants them to start against the Clippers. “Playing 82, starting 82, it’s a badge of honor for the guys who can do it,” Stotts told reporters, “and I think those four guys are really proud of the fact that they’ve been available for and played for 82 games.” Clippers forward Blake Griffin received his 16th technical in the game against the Nuggets and will miss the contest due to an automatic one-game suspension unless the NBA rescinds it Wednesday.TV:
10:30 p.m. ET, ESPN, Prime Ticket (Los Angeles), KGW (Portland)ABOUT THE CLIPPERS (57-24):
Guard J.J. Redick scored 18 points in the victory over Denver but will be held out of the lineup in the second game of a back-to-back. Redick is averaging 12.4 points in five games since returning from a back injury that kept him sidelined for two months. “I don’t want him playing in a back-to-back,” Los Angeles coach Doc Rivers told reporters. “I don’t think that’s wise.” Redick was 4-of-6 from 3-point range against Denver in his best outing since becoming healthy.ABOUT THE TRAIL BLAZERS (53-28):
Portland doesn’t plan to overtax any of its key players in the finale and Stotts admitted Monday that preparations for the playoff series against the Houston Rockets have already begun. “We didn’t talk much about the Clippers,” Stotts told reporters. “It’s more focused on Houston. The fact that we can spread out our preparation time, rather than trying to cram everything in, makes it easier not only for the players but the coaches and the video staff and everybody else.” Post player Joel Freeland, out since Feb. 11 with a knee injury, will return to action and receive a decent amount of playing time.BUZZER BEATERS
1. The teams split two previous meetings this season and Los Angeles has won six of the last eight matchups.
2. The Clippers have topped 100 points in 13 of the past 14 games.
3. Portland G Wesley Matthews is averaging 21.3 points over the last four games.PREDICTION:
Trail Blazers 107, Clippers 101
Stats and Records