Damian Lillard of Portland passes the ball over Denver’s Nikola Jokic, left, and Emmanuel Mudiay during Portland’s 107-99 victory over the Nuggets on Wednesday night in Portland/AP photo by Steve Dykes
Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum of the Portland Trail Blazers make up one of the NBA’s top guard tandems. But make no mistake, point guard Lillard is the main straw in that drink.
The Clippers know that, and they will be hard-pressed to contain Lillard when the teams tangle in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs, beginning Sunday at 7:30 p.m. at Staples Center. Clippers reserve guard Austin Rivers intimated his team gets what it’s up against.
“They can score the ball,” Rivers said. “They’ve got one of the best players in the game – Damian Lillard. We’re going to have our hands full with him and they have a really good cast around him, so we’ve really got to try to slow him down and make them defend us.”
Lillard is averaging 25.1 points – sixth in the league – 6.8 assists and 4.0 rebounds. McCollum is averaging 20.7 points.
The Clippers’ two starting guards – Chris Paul and J.J. Redick – average 19.5 and 16.3 points, respectively. Paul averages 10.0 assists, fourth in the league. Redick shot 47.5 percent (200 of 421) from 3-point range.
The Clippers, the No. 4 seed, finished the regular season 53-29. The fifth-seeded Trail Blazers went 44-38.