The Clippers will try to get their road trip back on track against one of the worst teams in the NBA, the Washington Wizards.
Where: Capital One Arena, Washington, D.C.
When: 4:00 PM PT
How to Watch: Bally Sports SoCal, AM 570
Projected Starting Lineups
Clippers: James Harden – Paul George – Terance Mann – Kawhi Leonard – Mason Plumlee
Wizards: Tyus Jones – Jordan Poole – Deni Avdija – Kyle Kuzma – Daniel Gafford
Clippers: Paul George Questionable (Groin), Ivica Zubac Out (Calf), Moussa Diabate Out (Hand)
Wizards: Isaiah Livers Out (Hip)
The Big Picture
The Clippers will look to bounce back from their tough loss to the Cavs on Monday and get their road trip back on a positive note. A third game in four nights on the road against a good team was always going to be difficult, so hopefully that loss doesn’t throw things off. The other good news is that Kawhi Leonard still continues to look like one of the very best players in the entire NBA, and is just about matchup proof. The Wizards, in particular, have nobody who should be able to really bother him. Though the same goes for Paul George (if he plays) and James Harden.
The Wizards are 9-36, thus putting them on track to finish with around 17 or 18 wins. That’s not “worst team in NBA history” level bad, but it is not too far from the conversation. The Wizards rank 28th in defense (ahead of the even more woeful Hornets and Pistons) and 25th on offense, giving them the 26th ranked net rating, though they are just a hair ahead of the Blazers and Spurs. Despite having some supposedly competent veterans, the Wizards are a mess on both ends, with a roster led by two inefficient chuckers (Kuzma and Poole) who almost never play defense. Tyus Jones is having an excellent offensive season, Deni Avdija has taken a big step forward in his 4th year, and Corey Kispert is a very good shooter. That about sums up the positives.
Get the Win: This does not need to be pretty. But the Clippers absolutely must win their games against the dregs of the NBA, even on the road, to keep pace with the Thunder, Nuggets, and Wolves atop the West standings. As long as they play hard and put together a competent, professional outing, they should be able to beat the hapless Wizards.
Hit the Glass: The Wizards, remarkably, rank dead last in both offensive and defensive rebounding rate. In short, they give up a lot of offensive rebounds and don’t get any of their own. Even without Ivica Zubac the Clippers should dominate the boards on both ends. Second chance points are what killed them against the Cavs, and they should hopefully not face the same issue in this one.