The LA Clippers look to get a little win streak going with a home game against the San Antonio Spurs.
Where: Crypto.com Arena
When: 7:30 PM PT
How to Watch: Clippervision, KTLA
Projected Starting Lineups
Clippers: Reggie Jackson – Paul George – Kawhi Leonard – Marcus Morris – Ivica Zubca
Spurs: Tre Jones – Devin Vassell – Keldon Johnson – Jeremy Sochan – Jakob Poeltl
Clippers: Luke Kennard out (right calf), Brandon Boston Jr (G League Assignment), Moussa Diabate (G League Assignment), Jason Preston (G League Assignment).
Spurs: Keldon Johnson probable (left ankle), Doug McDermott probable (left calf), Malaki Branham probable (left ankle), Devin Vassell questionable (left ankle), Jakob Poeltl questionable (right knee), Zach Collins out (left fibula), Romeo Langford out (health and safety protocols), Blake Wesley out (left MCL), Dominick Barlow (G League Assignment).
The Big Picture
The Clippers biggest news of the week came right before tip-off against the Detroit Pistons when it was announced that not only would Kawhi Leonard play, but he would be in the starting lineup. He looked about as you would expect for a player who hasn’t played in weeks; he was clearly rusty but was moving around well. Nonetheless, simply having him back in the lineup will help tremendously.
There are times this team still looks lost on the court and again they slugged through the game against the Pistons before finally being able to pull away late in the fourth quarter.
The offense continues to look putrid at times and the Clippers weren’t even able to eclipse the century mark, finishing with 96 points. Leonard’s return should help in that regard as he continues to get more live game reps.
Defensively, the Clippers remain one of the better teams in the league, and that’s giving them a shot to be in some of these games. It’s the offense that needs work. Halfcourt execution and taking care of the ball remain issues.
In what might be an encouraging sign, Reggie Jackson had a strong game and the Clippers would’ve been lost without him. He’s looked like he’s been rounding into form lately after shaking off a groin injury he suffered earlier in the season. Jackson as a consistent offensive threat will address some of those offensive issues.
After starting out the season on a surprising note, the San Antonio Spurs have come crashing back down to Earth. They started out 3-1 but have gone 3-9 since. This is a team that was set up to be in the Victor Wembanyama lottery sweepstakes so they’re pretty much back to what was expected of them.
This is an incredibly young and inexperienced team, something that Gregg Popovich hasn’t always been accustomed to during his tenure as Spurs head coach.
The Spurs are at the absolute bottom of the NBA when it comes to the defensive end. They are 30th in opponents points per game (120.2) and in defensive rating (117.7). That doesn’t necessarily mean the Clippers will have an easy time scoring the ball. The Pistons had come into Thursday’s game with the worst defensive rating in the league and after the Clippers game, they surpassed the Spurs.
This team has a couple of young players who are starting to blossom in Keldon Johnson and Devin Vassell. Johnson sat out the Spurs last game but is expected to play against the Clippers. Vassell is questionable, however. The Spurs might also be without their starting center in Jakob Poeltl who is also questionable. Without him, a heavy dose of Ivica Zubac in the paint is what is needed to begin the game.
One thing of note is that Robert Covington racked up a DNP and even Moses Brown saw minutes against the Pistons. He’s been out of the rotation since returning from health and safety protocols, but he’s a player who can help this team on both ends. A lot has been made of this team’s depth and moving forward it’ll be interesting to see who ultimately gets squeezed out of the rotation.