The Clippers take on the Hawks at home in the second night of a back to back, and will welcome home Sweet Lou Williams, their former sixth man. Keep reading for a full preview of the Clippers’ game against the Hawks.

Game Information

Where: Crypto.com Arena, Los Angeles, California

When: 12:30 PM PT

How to Watch: Bally Sports SoCal, AM 570

Projected Starting Lineups

Hawks: Trae Young – Bogdan Bogdanovic – Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot – John Collins – Clint Capela

Clippers: Reggie Jackson – Amir Coffey – Marcus Morris – Nic Batum – Ivica Zubac

Injuries

Hawks: Solomon Hill Out (Hamstring), De’Andre Hunter Out (Wrist), Gorgui Dieng Out (COVID-19), Clint Capela Questionable (Ankle), Malcolm Hill Out (COVID-19)

Clippers: Kawhi Leonard Out (ACL), Paul George Out (Elbow), Isaiah Hartenstein Out (Ankle), Jason Preston Out (Foot), Luke Kennard Out (COVID-19), Xavier Moon Out (COVID-19)

The Big Picture

The Clippers are suddenly in 9th place in the Western Conference, lagging behind the surging Mavs, Lakers, and Timberwolves and leagues away from the 4th place Grizzlies, who waxed them yesterday. Fortunately, they have a nice little buffer over the teams behind them, and should at the least be able to hang onto one of the bottom play-in spots. The downside is that they have a brutal January schedule, and while they’re finally getting healthier, they’re still missing their two stars and multiple other key pieces. Even when Luke Kennard and Isaiah Hartenstein return, presumably ahead of Paul George, there’s not much indication the Clippers will be anything other than a bottom-tier offense entirely reliant on outside shooting. The effort has been fine, the team cohesion is there, and a lot of individual players are having fine seasons – they’re all just punching way above their weight class, and it’s finally showing.

The Antagonist

The Hawks, sitting at 12th in the East with a 17-21 record (worse than the Clippers), might be the most disappointing team in the NBA. They’ve been ravaged by COVID-19, perhaps more so than most teams, but were struggling even before then. Trae Young has been exceptional, and John Collins a steady presence, but Bogdan Bogdanovic and Clint Capela have taken steps backs, De’Andre Hunter has been out most of the year, Cam Reddish remains not very good, and Danilo Gallinari and Lou Williams are sadly on their last legs. I think their season will improve (they’ve had a brutal schedule), especially when Hunter returns, but it’s unlikely they get into the top four in the East again, which is disappointing. Still, they’re highly dangerous on any given night, and that’s mostly because of Young, who’s putting up video game stats of 28.3 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 9.6 assists on very good efficiency.

Notes

Return of Sweet Lou: Today will mark the first return of Lou Williams to a Clippers home game since his trade at the deadline last season. Lou spent nearly four seasons with the Clippers, and they were historic ones for the franchise, including two 6th Man of the Year Award, some of the best scoring performances in franchise history, and a ton of memorable highlights. Lou was a leader, he was the soul of the Clippers during his tenure (while Pat Beverley was the heart), and he will be fondly remembered as a Clipper. He’s very clearly near the end of his career (he’s been really bad this season), but one has to think he still would have given more to the Clippers both on the court and especially in the locker room than Jay Scrubb or Jason Preston. His trade for a terrible Rajon Rondo (even without the picks thrown in) who was benched in the playoffs was not a franchise-altering disaster, but it was an awful, dumb trade that still makes me irritated when I think about it. As I’ve become more of a “media member” and less of a “fan” over the past few years, I’ve lost a lot of my emotional attachment to the team, and most of what was left departed with Beverley and Lou. I won’t be at the game, but I’ll be cheering from my couch when the tribute video player is run, and I hope you all will too.

Guarding Trae Young: While I had the starting lineup the Clippers used against the Grizzlies up above, it would not shock me if Eric Bledsoe was re-inserted into the starting unit to defend Trae. The young point guard is one of the most deadly scorers and playmakers in the NBA, and the Clippers are going to have their hands full defending him. Bledsoe, Terance Mann, and Amir Coffey will all get a crack at Trae, and the Clippers will need every bit of their defensive prowess. It’s probably best to make Trae a scorer instead of allowing him to spoon feed his big men and shooters easy buckets, but that’s easier said than done. One thing the Clippers have to do is attack Young on the other end – he’s an awful, awful defender and if they can make him tired and get him in foul trouble, all the better.

That about does it for this preview of the Clippers’ game against the Hawks. Comment on the game below!

Subscribe
Notify of
27 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
27
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x