Where: Staples Center, Los Angeles, California
When: 12:30 PM PT
How to Watch: AM 570 Radio
Projected Starting Lineups:
United: Mitch McCarron – Melo Trimble – Chris Goulding – Tohi Smith-Milner – Shawn Long
Clippers: Pat Beverley – Landry Shamet – Moe Harkless – JaMychal Green – Ivica Zubac
Clippers: Paul George Out (Shoulder), Kawhi Leonard Out (Rest), Rodney McGruder Out (Ankle), Terance Mann Questionable (Hamstring)
The Big Picture:
The Clippers are 1-2 in preseason thus far, but actual results are completely irrelevant before the regular season begins. In terms of how individual players have looked, which is far more important, the Clippers have come off rather well. In his brief appearance Thursday, Kawhi Leonard looked dominant. Lou Williams, Montrezl Harrell, Pat Beverley, and Moe Harkless have all played excellently as well, appearing far too good for the sloppy play and low stakes of preseason. Younger players such as Terance Mann and Ivica Zubac have played inspiring basketball as well, with Mann running point guard competently and Zubac showing more force in the paint. Really, nobody has had a bad preseason, and while there have been a couple injuries (McGruder’s ankle sprain, Mann’s hamstring pull), none are serious enough to linger into the regular season. All in all, the first three games have gone about as well as could be expected.
Melbourne is one of the most storied franchises in the NBL, and one a championship as recently as 2018. Their roster will look unfamiliar to most NBA fans, with the only easily recognizable name being Melo Trimble, who starred at Maryland in the mid-2010s. They’re a solid team in the NBL, which is a higher quality league than the CBA, so they should put up more of a fight than the Shanghai Sharks did a week ago, but they’re still far below NBA talent level. Expect the Clippers’ young guys to get a lot of run in this one.
No TV coverage: You probably noticed this above, but there’s no TV coverage for this game. Therefore, fans will be reduced to attending the game, listening on the radio, or finding a stream somewhere on the interwebs, probably of the stadium cam. As I won’t have a viable method of watching the game, there probably won’t be much of an in-depth recap, more of just a box-score summary to provide a place to talk about the outcome. Similarly, as most fans won’t be able to watch, this article will serve as the game thread as well.
Starting lineup changes: Doc Rivers surprised fans on Thursday when he started Lou Williams and Montrezl Harrell, who he’s been notoriously hesitant to take off the bench. That could have just been a one-off thing, or it might be part of a further experiment. Doc likes to try different things in preseason, so it’s quite possible we see an entirely different starting unit in this one. With McGruder, George, and Kawhi out, Doc’s options are somewhat limited on the wing, but he could go small with JaMychal Green at center or split up the Lou-Trez duo. Since there are so many Clippers out, we aren’t going to see a full rotation regardless, but it will be interesting to see if Doc hews closer to a normal regular season rotation or keeps things light.
Stay tuned for any updates regarding who’s playing and who’s not, and hang around to comment about the game!