Sunday, January 1, 2012

Game #4 Preview: Blazers vs. Clippers — Tonight's Storylines

By Jonathan Ryan Davis

1)  One the Road Again:  The Blazers have looked solid at home, going undefeated in their short three game homestand.  After defeating Denver in a tough divisional matchup, Portland heads south to take on the kings of LA, the Los Angeles Clippers.  With a revamped lineup, the Blazers will be tested for the first time away from the Rose Garden.  Last season, the Blazers maintained their home court advantage but struggled on the road.  The Blazers appear (based on their performance thus far at home) to be legitimate contenders; however, if they fail to bring that same energy and grit to the court away from home, Portland will be the borderline playoff team the pundits predicted Portland to be.  I am optimistic that we will show the league tonight that Portland can compete on any court against any team.

2)  Consistency:  Can the Blazers' guards show up for more than one game?  Tonight we will see if Jamal Crawford, Raymond Felton, and Wesley Matthews can excel in back to back games.  If they are able to do so, and Gerald Wallace and LaMarcus Aldridge can produce at their normal levels, Portland should handily control a Clippers team that is talented, but lacks the chemistry to be an elite team.

3)  Heavy Legs:  For a couple games now, Blazers like LMA have complained of heavy legs during their post-game interviews.  Portland needs to get into playing shape soon to stay competitive with the Thunder in the Northwest division.  The Blazers were lucky enough to have a few days off between the Denver game and their tilt tonight; let's hope they used that time to get some spring back in their legs to play the uptempo game McMillan has promised.

Go Blazers!

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