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Clippers vs. Wizards Preview: Clippers Visit Unstable Wizards

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As the Wizards prepare to host our LA Clippers, they will be contending with internal drama. Can the Clippers capitalize in the nation’s capitol?

NBA: Washington Wizards at Los Angeles Clippers Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

Game Information:

Where: Capital One Arena, Washington, D.C.

When: 4:00 PM PT

How to Watch/ Listen: Fox Sports Prime Ticket, AM 570 Radio

Projected Starting Lineups:

Wizards: John Wall, Bradley Beal, Otto Porter Jr., Markieff Morris, Ian Mahinmi

Clippers: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Patrick Beverley, Tobias Harris, Danilo Gallinari, Marcin Gortat

Injuries:

Wizards: Dwight Howard, Questionable (gluteal soreness)

Clippers: Luc Mbah a Moute, Out (sore knee); Danilo Gallinari, Day-to-Day (illness)

The Big Picture:

The Clippers are, as of Monday Nov. 19, at the top of NBA.com’s Power Rankings. What does this mean? Not much, of course, though it does reflect how well the Clippers have been playing as of late. They should undoubtedly be the favorites in their game with the Wizards.

This game, however, will not happen in a vacuum. The Wizards are going through a public unraveling and it is not clear how that will factor into how they play. Although the natural assumption would be that Wall and others will be distracted and not play well as a team as a result of the drama in their organization, it would not be a stretch to imagine the Wizards coming out fired up and ready to prove themselves.

The Antagonist:

This brings me to my Antagonist Take: This is a trap game for the Clippers. Along with the aforementioned drama that will make this game a knuckleball, the Clippers are also in the middle of a road trip, which can often throw teams off. Furthermore, the Wizards have something the Clippers do not: a superstar. John Wall is better than any player on the Clippers (although the gap between Wall and Harris isn’t all that wide), and superstars can go off for high-scoring games on any given night.

Notes:

  • Austin Rivers: The Clippers will get to hangout with their old friend (and son, if you’re Doc Rivers). Will anyone from the Clippers appear on Austin’s podcast?
  • Bradley Beal: Some in Clippers Twitter have suggested that we should try to get Bradley Beal in a trade, if the Wizards do indeed go forward with a fire sale of their roster. Will Doc seeing Beal play in person accelerate that interest in the front office?
  • Marcin Gortat is returning to Capitol One Arena for the first time since his trade, and is sure to get a warm reception. He might even get a highlight video at some point to commemorate his time with the Wiz. Hopefully he comes out with some energy and fire against his former teammate.