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Clippers look to avoid upset at the hands of the Nets

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The Clippers look to earn the season sweep over the Nets Monday night in DTLA.

Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

2015-16 NBA Regular Season
vs
Brooklyn Nets (16-42)

Los Angeles Clippers (38-20)
February 29, 2016 — 7:30 PM PT
STAPLES Center, Los Angeles, California
Prime Ticket, The Beast 980 AM, KWKW 1330 AM
Win-Loss Breakdown ('15-'16)
16-42 Record 38-20
9-25 East 18-6
7-17 West 20-14
5-6 Division 7-5
11-22 Home 19-10
5-20 Road 19-10
9-29 .500+ 15-15
7-13 .500– 21-5
0-2 OT 4-1
4-6 L10 6-4
Projected Starters
Donald Sloan
PG Chris Paul
Wayne Ellington SG J.J. Redick
Bojan Bogdanovic SF Luc Mbah a Moute
Thaddeus Young PF Paul Pierce
Brook Lopez C DeAndre Jordan
Efficiency Stats ('14-'15)
96.8 (21st) Pace 98.4 (13th)
99.9 (27th) OffRtg 106.4 (5th)
106.6 (26th) DefRtg 100.5 (6th)
-6.7 (27th) NetRtg 5.9 (5th)
Injury Report

Austin Rivers (Hand) Out

Blake Griffin (Hand) Out

What's new with the Clippers?

LAC rebounded from their awful showing against the Nuggets with a quality win in Sacramento Friday night. Chris Paul played one of his best games in a Clipper uniform, dumping in 40 points to go along with 13 dimes and eight rebounds. In typical CP3 fashion, he's currently playing through a slew of minor injuries but obviously isn't letting that slow him down. Jeff Green also played his best game since being acquired from Memphis at the trade deadline, finishing with 22 points on 9-of-13 shooting, including a tidy 4-of-5 from long range. The game against Brooklyn will be LAC's last "easy one" before a brutal stretch of the schedule in which they'll face OKC (twice), Atlanta, Dallas, Cleveland and San Antonio over the next two weeks.

What's new with the Nets?

Brooklyn is in the midst of a miserable overall season, and they're also about halfway through a brutal nine-game road trip. They have won two straight games following last week's buyout of Joe Johnson, though, including an impressive 98-96 win in Utah on Saturday.

Thanks to the much-maligned deal that landed Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett in Brooklyn a few years back, the Nets owe their upcoming first-rounder to the Celtics, so they're not able to benefit from their woeful season. Each BKN loss gets Boston closer and closer to nabbing a top-three pick, which must be salt in the open wound for Nets fans.

On the bright side, the Nets should have some money to spend in free agency for the first time since the franchise moved to Brooklyn back in 2012. The question, of course, is why would a star want to sign there considering what they have going on? Brook Lopez and Thaddeus Young are a couple of quality players, but the rest of the roster is largely bereft of major talent. Brooklyn also fired coach Lionel Hollins earlier in the season and are rolling with Tony Brown for the duration.

There really isn't a whole lot to say about this team. It's a mess.

Matchup to watch

Brook Lopez vs. DeAndre Jordan

Yes, the Nets are horrible, but Lopez is enjoying a fine individual campaign. The L.A. area native is averaging about 20 points, eight rebounds and two blocks per game while anchoring the Nets on both ends of the floor. He's a load at 7'0", 280, but is skilled enough to step outside and knock down jumpers. Lopez is physically comparable to DeMarcus Cousins, and we just saw what kinds of fits Cousins gave DeAndre the other night. Stopping Lopez is going to have to be a gang effort for the Clips.

Fortunately for L.A., Lopez isn't a great rebounder despite his size. He ranks just 76th in the league in rebound rate (13.6), while Jordan is No. 2 (22.6) behind only Andre Drummond. The Nets are a better rebounding team than the Clippers, though, and the Thaddeus Young-Paul Pierce matchup may prove dicey for the home team. We saw what kind of damage Kenneth Faried was able to do when matched up with Pierce last week. Young isn't the same kind of aggressive physical freak Faried is, but Paul will have a hard time dealing with his length and athleticism. Matchups like these are where the Clippers miss Blake Griffin the most.

Still, the Nets are atrocious, so the Clippers should have no problem taking them out to the woodshed. LAC does have a bit of a habit of playing with their food, though, so they'll need to come out with good intensity in spite of the obviously inferior opponent. Brooklyn did just beat the Jazz, so you never know.

Brooklyn area celebrity we should irrationally hate for a few hours

Michael Jordan

M.J.' s ties lie primarily with North Carolina, but he was actually born in Brooklyn. So he counts! Remember when Michael Jordan was known best for being the greatest basketballer of all time? Now, he's been reduced to a meme. And what a glorious meme he is. Rather than drone on with various Jordan facts and accomplishments, we'll just use this space to post some of the best Crying Jordans out there.

Russell Wilson as the Seahawks were getting housed by the Panthers in the playoffs

Cam Newton after losing the Super Bowl

Magic Johnson watching the Dodgers lose in the playoffs

Mets lose World Series

Thunder bench after Steph Curry's 35-foot game-winner

Jurgen Klopp after Liverpool lose Capital One Cup final

Curry after the Warriors' 24-game win streak ends

Donald Trump after losing Iowa Caucus

Good times!

Game day song of choice

New York, you say?

The Clippers will try to make it back-to-back wins over the Nets starting at 7:30 pm PT. They can't possibly lose to this team, right?