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Game Preview: Clippers Have a Rare Chance to Win in Dallas

The Clippers aren’t very good, but they might be able to win this one.

NBA: Utah Jazz at Los Angeles Clippers Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

The Clippers are a bad basketball team. They’re bad because four of their 5 starters are out with injury—which makes it pretty excusable for them to be bad, but doesn’t allow the team to avoid the reality of their poor play. Danilo Gallinari should be back next Wednesday against the Minnesota Timberwolves, which will probably mark the beginning of the Clippers having enough offensive talent to at least have hopes of competing on a nightly basis. Milos Teodosic shouldn’t be out for much longer than Gallo, and at that point the Clippers will hope to linger around the .500 mark until Blake Griffin returns.

If they want to realize that future, they’ll need to steal wins wherever they can—and one of their best opportunities should be tonight against the Mavericks. In fact, even if they do end up tanking the season, this will still be one of the few chances that the Clippers have to pick up a win. Dallas is the worst team in the Western Conference and among the worst in the NBA—they boast just a 5-17 record and have one of the worst offenses in the league. That last part is especially important, as the Clippers are missing four or their six offensive creators. Austin Rivers and Lou Williams are the only healthy players who provide some offensive firepower, and while they’ve both put up some admirable performances with their teammates hurt, it’s pretty difficult to imagine them providing enough offense to lift a team to victory consistently. If Dallas struggles to score the ball—and their leading scorer by a wide margin is Harrison Barnes—the Clippers have a chance to be competitive in a lower-scoring contest.

With how poor the Clippers have played lately, I’ll take any chance at a win they can get. Hopefully they can steal one shorthanded in Dallas tomorrow before what’s going to be a really, really rough back-to-back against a talented Minnesota team on Sunday.