Where: Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, Indiana
When: 4:00 PM PT Fox Sports Prime Ticket, AM 570
Projected Starting Lineups:
Clippers: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander – Patrick Beverley – Jerome Robinson (?) - Danilo Gallinari – Montrezl Harrell (?) –
Pacers: Darren Collison, Tyreke Evans, Bojan Bogdanovic, Thaddeus Young, Myles Turner
Clippers: Luc Mbah a Moute OUT (knee), Wilson Chandler OUT (Quad), Milos Teodosic Out (personal reasons), Landry Shamet Out (not with team)
Pacers: Doug Mcdermott OUT (Rib)
The Big Picture:
Well, that happened. Less than 10 hours after Tobias Harris lifted the L.A. Clippers to victory against the Charlotte Hornets with 34 points, seven rebounds, and five assists, Jerry West and company shipped him off to the Philadelphia 76ers (along with his buddy Boban Marjanovic and Mike Scott) in exchange for Landry Shamet, Mike Muscala, and Wilson Chandler, along with two future first round picks and two future second round picks. Harris was the Clippers’ leading scorer and widely considered to be a genuine All Star snub. However, he was going to be expensive this offseason, and with the Clippers’ intentions to go after true superstars instead of just stars, Tobias was traded, sadly. We will miss his game, good nature, and what he brought to the city and team, but now we have to focus on the future of the franchise. Which, with just hours before the deadline, is up in the air.
There has been speculation that the Clippers made the Tobias trade — especially for the picks — to gun for Anthony Davis, who has been reported to have the Clippers on a shortlist of teams he would re-sign with when his contract is up in 2020. AD wants to be in a big market and it seems as though talks have stalled between the Lakers and Pelicans as the Pels are requesting too much. The Clippers have better assets as far as players they can offer, and now with two future first round picks, including their own in 2020, they can potentially make an offer the Pels can’t refuse.
With Tobias and Scott gone, the Clips are extremely thin at the PF position — with only Johnathan Motley, an injured Luc Mbah a Moute and Harrell listed as 4’s (Trez mostly plays center, however). However, after missing 10 games with back spasms, it looks as though Danilo Gallinari could be back in the lineup Thursday as he has been traveling with the team on this six game road trip. We haven’t received the official go from the press yet, but if he is available, that would go a long way in getting a win over the competitive Indiana Pacers, just coming off a 42-point win against the Lakers.
Thursday, the Clippers will be on their fourth game of a six game road trip that has so far seen them go 2-1 after a 20-point come from behind victory against the Hornets. This game will be very interesting, as a lot has changed (and still potentially could change) with the roster and rotations, so starting lineups and schemes are TBD.
The Midwest UCLA Bruins…sorry, I mean the Indiana Pacers are a fiery bunch that are still winning games despite their best player, Victor Oladipo, going down with a season-ending knee injury. After suffering a four game losing streak directly after the injury, the Pacers have bounced back to a nice three game win streak, including smoking LA’s other team at home Tuesday night. This is a team with a good mix of young talent and vets, a great veteran coach, good shooters, depth, and a team that now has to play with a chip on their shoulders. They are still holding onto a solid playoff spot in the East at 35-19, only one game back of the Boston Celtics for third in the Eastern Conference.
They have a similar approach to the Clippers, as they spread scoring out and don’t rely on one star to take all the shine. Even when Oladipo was in the lineup, he was only averaging 2.4 more points than Bojan Bogdanovic, their second leading scorer. They have six players averaging more than 10 PPG and are 5th in 3-point percentage, 7th in team assists, 7th in team plus-minus and most important of all…2nd in defensive rating. Despite being “starless,” this is a good team who is very tough at home. With the roster turmoil in L.A., this game will be difficult for the Clips. Winnable sure, but by no means easy.
Midwest UCLA: It’s kind of wild that there are four former UCLA bruins on the Indiana Pacers roster: Aaron Holiday, Darren Collison, TJ Leaf, and the injured Ike Anigbogu. L.A. connections are truly everywhere.
This game will be weird: We still have no idea what will happen in the next 24 hours of the deadline, but there is a belief that the Clippers are not done with making moves to solidify their 2019 season. This game could be one where there are only 8 players available for L.A. and a bunch of new faces. Buckle up.