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Clippers vs. Raptors Preview and Gamethread: TUESDAY NIGHT

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NBA: Los Angeles Clippers-Media Day Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Preseason game against the Raptors. Same thing as last time. We’re hosting the group argument in the comments area.

Where: Stan Sheriff Center, Honolulu Hawaii

When: 10:00 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, Milos Teodosic, Danilo Gallinari, Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan

Injuries:

Clippers Guard Austin Rivers, Raptors Wing OG Anunoby is out.

Things to Watch:

  • Who wins? We know preseason isn’t about winning, but the Clippers have lost 5 out of 6 regular season games to the Raptors, and with the Clippers and Raptors being preseason opponents about as many times over the last 3 seasons, the Clippers have lost most of those games as well. We have to throw that out there to head off any “Back when Chris Paul was in Los Angeles . . . . “ nuggets of wisdom that so frequently grace this beloved blog.

  • Optimizing lineups and designing rotations: Preseason is a chance for experimentation and establishing comfort. For team cornerstones like Gallinari, Blake, Jordan, and Beverly, it’s not a question of if they will start, but who rests at which times of the game. Do the Clippers always want one of either Blake or Gallo on the floor at all times? If / when Gallo is leading a lineup, who needs to be around him? What the first game against Toronto showed was that the Clippers are not as top-heavy as in years past. What we could see is something like an X-men gold team and blue team thing rather than an A squad and B squad.

  • The core four of Gallo, Blake, DJ, and Bev looked like the foundation of a proper top 10 NBA team. Some people have been stressing about who gets the fifth starting spot - but on this particular team this year, it’s possible that the fifth starter doesn’t actually receive the fifth most minutes. If we’re jumping to conclusions based off one semi full-contact scrimmage, Milos looks like an early favorite for those minutes. He may not start at the two spot, but Doc will probably go with a positionless backcourt frequently where there’s just two smaller players with complementary skills rather than a rigid point guard / shooting guard thing, so Milos will likely find chunks of time with the core four. Milos has something of a Manu Ginobili vibe. Everyone has been freaking out about Milos’ defense not being good, so it will be interesting to see if Doc can hide him in the starting lineup around DJ and Beverly.

  • Wes Johnson got an early look in the last game. Smart move. Some guys just do better if they don’t sit idle for too long. We need an energy guy off the bench who forces lazy players like Harden to spend energy trying to adjust and keep up, and why not Wes?

  • Free throws. We haven’t had enough of them in recent years. Blake has been near the top of the league in free throw attempts, but it’s been really thin across the rest of the roster. Gallo and Williams are going to get us tons of free throws and will get players in foul trouble, and we saw this in the first game. If the Clippers get to the line significantly more than the Raptors it will probably equal a win.

Lastly, 1am EST? The Clippers, Raptors, and the NBA were all confused about this. Look people, when the game is played at 7pm Hawaii time on Tuesday night, don’t list it as occurring on Wednesday. You know this was confusing.