Where: Staples Center, Los Angeles, California
When: 7:30 PM Pacific Time
How to Watch: Fox Sports Prime Ticket, AM 570 Radio
Projected Starting Lineups:
Knicks: Emmanuel Mudiay, Tim Hardaway Jr., Courtney Lee, Michael Beasley, Enes Kanter
Clippers: Milos Teodosic, Austin Rivers, C.J. Williams, Tobias Harris, DeAndre Jordan
Knicks: Ron Baker Out (Right Shoulder), Kristaps Porzingis Out (Torn ACL), Joakim Noah Out (Disgruntled)
Clippers: Patrick Beverley Out (Knee Surgery), Jawun Evans Out (Sports Hernia), Avery Bradley Out (Sports Hernia), Danilo Gallinari Out (Bruised Hand)
The Knicks have lost 9 of their last 10 games, and their play has perhaps been even worse than that record reflects. Without star big man Porzingis, they are a ship adrift in the NBA ocean, and they have maybe a few above average NBA players on their entire roster. However, it’s not really bad that the Knicks are so terrible. They don’t have the talent to challenge for the playoffs, and desperately need more talent. No, the issue is that they refuse to play the young guys they have on their roster, the worst offense being leaving their 2017 first round pick Frank Ntilikina on the bench in favor of Courtney Lee. Other young guys like Luke Kornet and Damyean Dotson are similarly not played enough, and there’s simply no reason for it. The Knicks need to figure out which of their young players might be real pieces for the future, and they can’t do that by playing their (not even very good) veterans so much.
The Big Picture:
The Clippers fell back into 9th place after their loss to the Rockets on Wednesday, but are still very much in the thick of the playoff race. Every game against a team like the Knicks (especially at home) is an absolute must win. Their schedule is brutal the rest of the year, and they need all the easy wins that they can get. Even without players like Danilo Gallinari and Avery Bradley available, this is a game that the Clippers should dominate. Look for a bounceback performance from Austin Rivers after a poor game against Houston.
· Gallo Still Out: Well, Gallinari was ruled out of this game yesterday, so it doesn’t appear like he is that close to a return yet. He had an MRI recently, but the results haven’t been released thus far. Nonetheless, his lack of improvement on his injured hand is worrying, and every game he sits out is one the Clippers can ill afford. Hopefully it is just a bruise, and that he just happens to be healing slowly from it.
· CJ Williams’ Last Day: Tyrone Wallace’s time in the NBA ran out a couple games ago, and this will be Williams’ final day of his 45 in the NBA as well. There haven’t been any reports on the Clippers signing him to a regular NBA deal, but with the talks with Wallace stalling, it might be more likely that a deal with Williams gets done soon. The Clippers’ roster is thin right now, and it would be very odd if they didn’t keep at least one of Wallace or Williams around for the rest of the season.