The LA Clippers continue a tough stretch of games against playoff opponents with a return home against the Golden State Warriors.
Where: Crypto.com Arena, Los Angeles, CA
When: 7:30 p.m. PST
How to Watch: Bally Sports SoCal, NBA TV
Projected Starting Lineups
Clippers: Reggie Jackson – Terance Mann – Nicolas Batum – Marcus Morris Sr. – Ivica Zubac
Warriors: Stephen Curry – Klay Thompson – Andrew Wiggins – Jonathan Kuminga – Kevon Looney
Clippers: Norman Powell out (left foot), Luke Kennard questionable (left ankle), Paul George out (right elbow), Kawhi Leonard out (right knee), Jason Preston out (right foot), Jay Scrubb out (right foot)
Warriors: Draymond Green out (back), Andre Iguodala out (back), James Wiseman out (knee)
The Big Picture
The Clippers Grammy road trip may have been tough and grueling, but this recent stretch of games since returning has all come against playoff quality teams. So far, the Clippers are 1-3 in that stretch with their lone win coming on Saturday against the Dallas Mavericks.
That tough Clippers’ stretch continues as the Golden State Warriors come to town with the second best record in the NBA. On the injury/lineup front, things haven’t gotten any easier for the Clippers. They made a quality trade bringing in two very good players in Norman Powell and Robert Covington, but Powell is now out indefinitely with a foot injury. To add to that, Luke Kennard is also questionable against the Warriors.
The name of the game all season for the Clippers has been to tread water, to keep themselves afloat in a tough Western Conference playoff race and perhaps get healthy by the end of the season. As they approach the All-Star break, they’ve pretty much done the first part. They currently sit at 28-30 and in eighth place in the West.
They’re a full game and a half up on the ninth place LA Lakers and four and a half games up on the Portland Trail Blazers. After the Warriors game, they have a road game against the Phoenix Suns, the best team in the league, before the schedule starts to relax a little bit with multiple games against the Lakers and the Houston Rockets.
At this point, it’s fair to question whether or not the Clippers will ever be fully healthy this season. It’s seemingly been one thing after another, and after the team’s win over the Lakers back on Feb. 4, Tyronn Lue snuck into the postgame that the team isn’t expecting Kawhi Leonard back at all this season.
Clippers fans may have had visions of everyone, including Leonard, being fully healthy by the end of the season and the team embarking on a miraculous playoff run as a low seed, but the reality is there’s a good chance that may not happen. What you see is what you may get. That is, a scrappy and tough team that is going to give themselves a chance in every game they play and perhaps even put a brief scare into a higher seed. But as the All-Star break approaches, it’s probably wise to keep things grounded in reality.
On the opposite side of today’s game, the Golden State Warriors are experiencing a renaissance of sorts. Ever since their championship runs between 2015-2019, they’ve had a tough bit of luck with Klay Thompson suffering multiple injuries, roster shuffling, and looking a far cry from the team that for five straight years, was a staple in the NBA Finals.
Flash forward to this season, and they’re one of the top contenders for the title. They got off to a great start without Thompson, and since he’s returned to the lineup he’s been looking more and more like the player who once erupted for 37 points in a single quarter. Against the Lakers on Saturday, he dropped 16 of his 33 in the fourth quarter to power the Warriors to a win.
Steph Curry is one of the leading MVP candidates this season and Andrew Wiggins, much maligned for his time in Minnesota, is a first-time All-Star. The return of Andre Iguodala, who is out against the Clippers, has helped strengthen their bench, and the emergence of Jordan Poole has given them yet another offensive weapon.
This team is one of the best defensive teams in the league as well, anchored by Draymond Green, who is currently out with a back injury, but is expected to return to the lineup sometime after the All-Star break.
The Warriors are also one of the teams in the mix for newly minted free agent Goran Dragic.
Stopping the Warriors high octane offense is going to be a tough task for the Clippers and getting off to a good start will be imperative.