The race to grab the eighth seed in the Western Conference has been a wild ride so far. The unexpected first win by the Memphis Grizzlies against Oklahoma City Thunder pushed them one entire game ahead of the ninth-seeded Portland Trail Blazers. Today, August 8, the Blazers are going up against the second-seeded LA Clippers.
Both teams have a single purpose. The Clippers are hoping to hold their position and the Blazers want to snatch the eighth post from the Grizzlies.
Portland Trail Blazers injury report and lineup prediction
This game is a great opportunity for the Blazers to make it to the play-in competition. Their performance in the Orlando Bubble has been great so far and meeting the high levels of expectations. They have had two consecutive wins against the Denver Nuggets and Houston Rockets. But for today’s match, their center, Hassan Whiteside has been declared doubtful of playing.
After the victory against the Nuggets on Thursday, Hassan complained of pain in his left hip. Jamie Hudson, a reporter for NBC tweeted the news.
Blazers announce Hassan Whiteside (left hip strain) is doubtful for Saturday’s game vs. LA Clippers
— Jamie Hudson (@JamieHudsonNBCS) August 7, 2020
The key players for the Blazers now would be Damian Lillard, Carmelo Anthony, CJ McCollum, and Jusuf Nurkic. Damian has always stepped up to the occasion for the Blazers. In their last game against the Nuggets, he scored 45 points with 12 assists. CJ and Jusuf provide great support to him and help in additional points. Carmelo also proved the value of experience in the last match.
With this in mind, the lineup prediction would be Damian Lillard, Jusuf Nurkic, CJ McCollum, Carmelo Anthony, and Zach Collins.
LA Clippers injury report and lineup prediction
The Clippers stand at a great position in the Western Conference at the moment. Things were not looking great when their prominent rotation players like Montrezl Harrell, Lou Williams, and Patrick Beverley were out initially. But Lou Williams is back and ready to play. However, Harrell had left the bubble to deal with a personal matter and has still not returned. Also, even though Patrick Beverley is back, coach Doc Rivers said that he could be out “a couple of days, a couple of games,” due to his calf injury.
The biggest setback for the Clippers would be their star player not playing that match today. Kawhi Leonard can definitely hold the ceiling for the team and the missing players wouldn’t have been much of a problem but now that he is out, this could be a big issue for the Clippers. Leonard has been outstanding in defense and offense in the seeding games. The reigning NBA Finals MVP is averaging 26.9 points and 7.2 rebounds this season.
Kawhi Leonard (rest) ruled out Saturday. https://t.co/SM8ZsUWbjd
— FantasyLabs NBA (@FantasyLabsNBA) August 8, 2020
However, he will be getting a two-day rest before Sunday’s game against the Brooklyn Nets and another two-day rest before the team plays the Denver Nuggets. Now, the consistency of players like Paul George, Reggie Jackson, and Ivica Zubac is what the Clippers can bank on.
The lineup prediction would be Marcus Morris Sr., Paul George, Reggie Jackson, Ivica Zubac, and Landry Shamet.
SOURCE: Jamie Hudson Twitter