Two days after beating the Spurs in San Antonio, the Clippers will try to do it all over again.
Where: Frost Bank Center, San Antonio, Texas
When: 5:00 PM PT
How to Watch: Bally Sports SoCal, AM 570
Projected Starting Lineups
Clippers: James Harden – Paul George – Kawhi Leonard – Terance Mann – Ivica Zubac
Spurs: Jeremy Sochan – Julian Champagnie – Keldon Johnson – Victor Wembanyama – Zach Collins
Clippers: Mason Plumlee Out (Knee), Brandon Boston Out (Quad), Kobe Brown Out (G-League)
Spurs: Devin Vassell Questionable (Groin)
The Big Picture
After losing six games in a row, the Clippers have won their last two. They beat this same Spurs team on Monday in a wire-to-wire victory, looking like the far more competent and composed team. The Clippers are starting to work their rotations out, which is a bonus, and Daniel Theis has provided a big lift off the bench. Still, it all comes back to the stars, and Harden’s playmaking alongside Paul George and Kawhi Leonard’s two-way performances at the wings has been the catalyst for the Clippers’ victories. As long as those guys are healthy and playing well the Clippers will be pretty good regardless of the context around them.
The Spurs were really bad on Monday on both ends of the court, proving unable to score consistently due to their lack of shooting or of providing much resistance to the Clippers. If Devin Vassell does play he will help their offense significantly. If not, the Spurs just don’t have a ton of punch. Despite Wemby’s fantastic flashes, he’s not good enough to push a team to greatness, and this Spurs team is too young ad undisciplined to do much around him anyway.
Just Win: The Clippers’ win on Monday was not pretty, but not all wins have to be beautiful basketball. The Clippers going down 3-7 in their record means they need to climb out of a hole early, and beating bad team such as the Spurs is a must. If they play as well as they did on Monday – not amazing, just fine – they should be able to pull this win out. And despite all their woes, being 6-7 would not be an awful spot.
The Harden-Kawhi Pick and Roll: The Clippers have staggered Harden and Kawhi as a pair with Russ and PG being the other two. The duos make sense, and while Russ and PG have tons of built in chemistry, we have seen Kawhi and Harden figure out some things as well in their weeks together. Each can run pick and rolls with the other to force switches, with Harden being able to burst by slower defenders and Kawhi able to bully smaller ones. As the two of them learn exactly where they like to get the ball and what pace to play at, their chemistry should only grow.