Trail Blazers vs. Clippers NBA Preview and Best Bet

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Head coach Chauncey Billups and CJ McCollum #3 of the Portland Trail Blazers. Steph Chambers/Getty Images/AFP

Damian Lillard and the Portland Trail Blazers play their first road game of the new NBA season on Monday as they visit Paul George and the Los Angeles Clippers. Which way to lean at BMR’s top-rated sportsbooks

Portland Trail Blazers vs. Los Angeles Clippers 

Monday, October 25, 2021 – 10:30 PM EDT at Staples Center 

Monday is the first meeting of the season between the Trail Blazers and Clippers. Portland leads the all-time series 147-84 and is 59-58 as the road team. However, L.A. won all three last year. Paul George was a beast for Los Angeles in those three, averaging 30.7 points on 58.2 percent shooting along with 8.0 rebounds and 5.0 assists.

Kawhi Leonard played in two of the three and averaged 28.5 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 7.0 assists but is out recovering from knee surgery. For Portland, CJ McCollum averaged 25.7 points, 4.7 assists, and 4.0 rebounds vs. Los Angeles a season ago. All-Star Damian Lillard played in two of the three and only averaged 15.5 points.  Los Angeles is 5-1 against the spread on the NBA odds in the past six meetings. 

Blazers Bit Banged Up 

Portland’s first-year coach is Chauncey Billups, who was an assistant under Ty Lue on the Clippers last season. Billups also played for the Clippers from 2011-13. He brought along assistant Roy Rogers with him from Los Angeles. The Blazers are averaging 127.5 points in their 1-1 start. On Saturday, they trounced the defending Western Conference champion Phoenix Suns 134-105 behind 28 points from CJ McCollum. 

He has led the team in scoring in both games, not superstar Damian Lillard, who is averaging an unusually low 19.5 points. Remember, he was very unhappy with the team in the offseason and could demand a trade at any time. Lillard was named to the NBA 75th Anniversary Team on Oct. 21. He is soon going to pass Rudy Gay as the No. 99 all-time points scorer in league history. 

The team will be down starting forward Norman Powell and reserve guard Tony Snell on Monday. Powell, a big trade acquisition last season from Toronto, went down with a scary-looking knee injury vs. the Suns but apparently has avoided serious injury. Powell is averaging 15.0 points and 3.5 rebounds.

Nassir Little likely will start in his place. Snell is dealing with a right foot sprain, which should open up more time off the bench for Anfernee Simons.   Apparently, 134 is the magic number for Portland. The win over the Suns was the 17th time in franchise history this century that Portland scored at least 134 points. The team is 17-0 in those games. The Blazers are 7-18-1 against the spread on NBA picks in their past 26 Monday games. 

Clippers Down Kawhi, Ibaka 

As noted above, the Clippers are without superstar Kawhi Leonard after he partially tore his ACL in Game 4 of last season’s Western Conference semifinals vs. Utah. Leonard may not play at all this season, but because it was a partial tear and not a full one, it’s possible he could return late in the season. I believe the Clips would have won the West last year if Leonard was healthy.  

They are 0-2 to begin this season following 120-114 defeat vs. Memphis in their home opener on Saturday. Paul George is having to carry a bigger load with Kawhi out and was fabulous 41 points and 10 rebounds, but LA doesn’t really have another primary scorer behind him. No one else had more than 17 points vs. the Grizzlies. It was George’s sixth career game with at least 40 points and 10 rebounds.  

Another starter, big man Serge Ibaka, has missed both games as he works his way back from offseason surgery on his back. He’s missed especially on defense with his shot-blocking and rebounding. “I think still the emphasis needs to be 'get back'," George said. "Especially with these fast teams, we just got to get back I think we’re still getting out of preseason mode. We got to start to find our way and figure it out.

You know, the season starts from here, so we just got to dial in on that and getting back and getting matched up and getting our defense set." L.A.’s starters have been outscored by 21 points in 20 minutes together so far this season. “Our first unit has to do a better job of setting the tone defensively, having a defensive mindset,” coach Ty Lue said.

“I don’t think we’re there right now, we’re not there yet.” Los Angeles is 6-1 ATS in its past seven Monday games, but I’ll take the points as computer simulations have this game basically even. 

NBA Pick: Trail Blazers +3 (-105) with BetOnline (visit our BetOnline Review)

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