The Portland Trail Blazers announced on Monday that both Damian Lillard and Jusuf Nurkic will sit out Tuesday’s game against the LA Clippers.
Lillard will sit with a hamstring injury, while Nurkic will sit with “injury management,” likely related to the fractured right wrist that kept him out for over two months earlier in the season.
Without the Blazers’ MVP candidate and their starting center, Portland will no-doubt have a hard time generating offense against a Clippers squad that ranks tenth in the league in defensive rating. They will still have CJ McCollum, who is averaging a career-high 23.4 points per game, in addition to newly added wing Norman Powell, whom the Blazers traded for at the trade deadline.
If Lillard were playing, the Clippers would’ve been prepared. They’ve done a great job of trapping Lillard and blitzing the pick-and-roll against him this season, forcing him into tough shots or forcing the ball out of his hands. In the Clippers’ first two games against the Blazers, Lillard has shot just 5-28 from the field.
For LA, everyone is healthy and ready to go, other than Patrick Beverley (fractured hand) and Serge Ibaka (lower back tightness), who have been out for six and 19 games respectively.
The Clippers have won eight of their last nine games, and are now just 1.5 games back of the Phoenix Suns for the no.2 seed in the Western Conference. However, if the standings remain the same, the Clippers will play the Blazers in the first round of the playoffs.