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Clippers at Raptors Preview and Gamethread: First Game of the Preseason!

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The NBA season is finally upon us, as the Clippers play their first game of the preseason tonight. Here’s a brief look at what to watch for in this game

Los Angeles Clippers Media Day Photo by Josh Lefkowitz/Getty Images

Here’s a quick summary of the game, as well as a few quick hitters on things to look for.

Where: Stan Sheriff Center, Honolulu Hawaii

When: 7:00 PM PT

How to Watch: NBATV, Fox Sports West

How to Listen: AM 570 Radio

Projected Starting Lineups:

RaptorsKyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan, C.J. Miles, Serge Ibaka, Jonas Valanciunas

ClippersPatrick Beverley, Austin Rivers, Danilo Gallinari, Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan

Injuries:

None for Clippers, Raptors Wing OG Anunoby is out

Things to Watch:

  • Who gets minutes in the “rotation”: Preseason is a time for experimentation, but generally coaches will rotate in players in roughly the same order they would a preseason game. The two big questions right now are who is starting at shooting guard (appears to be Austin Rivers), and who are the backups at small forward, power forward, and center. Doc could go small by playing Wesley Johnson and Sam Dekker together along with either Montrezl Harrell or Willie Reed, or he could go big with the latter two playing alongside each other. Also, does second year big Brice Johnson fit into the equation at all?
  • Staggering: Doc notoriously doesn’t like to stagger his star players, but this season seems to be an opportune time to do so. Gallinari should get some minutes at power forward, his best position, and that means playing small-ball. That could mean he or Blake playing with the second unit, further complicating the rotation. Additionally, if Austin starts, Milos Teodosic and Lou Williams will be the guard duo off the bench, and that pairing promises to be a disaster on the defensive end of the floor. Doc will need to manage that guard rotation very carefully.
  • Young players standing out: The Clippers have Johnson as well as 2017 second round picks Jawun Evans and Sindarius Thornwell to develop, and that’s not even getting into the training camp invites or two-way signee Jamil Wilson. These guys will probably all get a look or two in the preseason (Johnson and Thornwell might get more than that), and it’s imperative for them to make an impression. That can lead to overzealous play, but it’s also how a training camp guy can get a two-way deal, or even a full contract. It’s relatively unusual for a training camp player to absolutely stand out, though it has happened before. Not all of the deep bench guys will play tonight, but those who get a first look might have a bit of a headstart on that second two-way deal.
  • Bruce Bowen commentating: For those watching the game on Fox Sports West (and maybe on NBATV too), it will be an opportunity to listen to Bowen call his first game as a Clipper’s broadcaster. It’s doubtful he’s picked up a ton of chemistry with Ralph Lawler yet, but his commentary on the actual game (as a relatively recently retired player) could be quite insightful (hopefully).

And that’s it. Enjoy the game, and leave comments below! It’s time for Clippers’ basketball!