The Clippers (42-39) bring their regular season to a close Wednesday night against the Los Angeles Lakers (34-47). The Clippers are the home team in this final match-up.
With neither team headed to the playoffs, this game is really about bragging rights through the off-season. The Clippers have donimated the Lakers in recent years, winning the last 6 match-ups between the franchises, and 22 of the last 26.
When: Wednesday, April 11, 2018 — 7:30 p.m. (PT)
Where: Staples Center, Los Angeles, CA
TV: Fox Sports Prime Ticket
Radio: AM 1150 KEIB
Clippers: Wesley Johnson, Tobias Harris, DeAndre Jordan, C.J. Williams, Tyrone Wallace
Lakers: Josh Hart, Julius Randle, Brook Lopez, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Alex Caruso
Austin Rivers (right elbow soreness) QUESTIONABLE
Lou Williams (sprained right ankle) QUESTIONABLE
Patrick Beverley (right knee surgery) OUT
Avery Bradley (athletic pubalgia surgery) OUT
Jawun Evans (athletic pubalgia surgery) OUT
Danilo Gallinari (sore right hand) OUT
Milos Teodosic (left plantar fascia tear) OUT
Kyle Kuzma (sprained left ankle) QUESTIONABLE
Lonzo Ball (left knee contusion) QUESTIONABLE
Brandon Ingram (concussion protocol) OUT
Luol Deng (sprained left ankle) OUT
Isaiah Thomas (right hip surgery) OUT
THE BIG PICTURE
As this is Clipper’s last game of the season, there really is no “big picture” here. What fans can look forward to is a fun game showcasing young and hungry talent. A few things worth noting:
- Rookie Sindarius Thornwell, who has really stepped up over the course of the season, contributed 20 points (career high), 7 assists (career high), 5 rebounds, 2 steals and 2 blocks Monday night against the New Orleans Pelicans. A banner night for the hardworking rookie. Two of his points came off the following posterizing dunk.
— NBA (@NBA) April 10, 2018
Sindarius. Thornwell.#ItTakesEverything pic.twitter.com/ryHOZqRwtF
Look for this young man to continue his solid and confident play tonight.
- Mid-season pick-up Tobias Harris has exceeded expectations and really become a leader on the Clippers squad. He is averaging 18.5 points, 5.5 rebounds and 2.4 assists this season, and has performed exceptionally well since joining the Clippers. Harris has scored 20+ points in 15 of his last 31 games as a Clipper. Last Tuesday’s 31-point performance against the San Antonio Spurs was his sixth 30-point game of the season, and second with Los Angeles. I’m anticipating a big final game for Tobi.
- With a depleted guard rotation, look for the big guys - DeAndre Jordan, Montrezl Harrell and Boban Marjanovic - to carry the load on offense tonight. Jordan and Harrell have been solid all year, and Bobi, a fan favorite, has contributed nicely when on the floor. Without output from these three, particularly if Austin and Lou sit this game out, the Clippers may have a difficult time finding enough offense to pull off the win.
The Lakers, like the Clippers, are also impacted by injury as this season comes to a close, with Ball, Kuzma and Ingram all possibly sitting out Wednesday’s contest.
The up and coming squad has been getting good performances out of Julius Randle and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. Randle is averaging 16.3 points, 8 rebounds and 2.6 assists. Caldwell-Pope has contributed 13.6 points, 5.3 rebounds and 2.2 assists. The often out-to-lunch Clippers defense will have to find a way to contain these guys.
The Lakers have been particularly good in the lane this season; they lead the NBA in points in the paint. They have scored an incredible 60+ points in the paint 18 times this season, including a franchise record 82 points against the Houston Rockets back in December.
They have talent, no doubt about that.
In possibly the feel-good story of the year, 10-year D/G-Leaguer Andre Ingram was called up by the Lakers for Tuesday night’s game against the Rockets. He did not disappoint. The 32-year old rookie scored 19 points on 6-of-8 shooting, including four 3-pointers. Will his momentum carry over to Wednesday’s game? Maybe. The guy is a sharp shooter, particularly from behind the arc.
This one could go either way. If Austin and or Lou are good to go at game time, I think the Clippers continue their domination in Los Angeles. If not, the squad will have difficulty on offense, and may end this roller coaster season on a loss.