The NBA’s annual trade deadline is Thursday afternoon at 3pm eastern time.
The Clippers, according to reports, are expected to make a move.
And, as noted here Jan. 23, lots of rival teams are anticipating at least one trade this week from the Clippers, who have been pursuing a big and a wing even after their home-run summer acquisitions of Kawhi Leonard and Paul George https://t.co/T8tBLCIBa2— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) February 3, 2020
That adds another dimension to Wednesday night’s already-big game against the Miami Heat—will the Clippers be short-handed after making a trade? Will they hold out a player like Maurice Harkless, who appears likely to be moved? Will it be Clippers fans’ last chance to see the roster as currently constructed?
As all of the deadline drama builds, the Clippers will need to focus—something they haven’t always done in the last several weeks—in order to face a very strong Miami Heat team that will be looking for revenge after the Clippers won in Florida two weeks ago. Miami had only lost one home game prior to that Clippers contest, meaning they should be eager to hit the Clippers back in Los Angeles this week (though it’s worth nothing that the Heat are just 12-12 on the road this season).
In that contest, both teams were shorthanded, with the Heat particularly missing Kendrick Nunn and Goran Dragic, their two primary ball-handlers. With Nunn and Dragic back in the lineup, the Heat should be a much more fierce opponent—but with Patrick Beverley and Paul George returning to the Clippers lineup since that game, the Clippers will be stronger as well.
It’s an exciting opportunity to see two of the league’s best teams face off against each other. Miami also features Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo, two unique talents. Adebayo in particular gave the Clippers headaches defensively in the last match-up as a mobile big man, and with less help from their guards (who will be paying attention to Nunn and Dragic), Ivica Zubac and Montrezl Harrell could struggle to contain Bam defensively. They’re flanked by Duncan Robinson, Tyler Herro, and Meyers Leonard—three dead-eye sharpshooters that keep the floor wide-open for Nunn, Dragic, Butler, and Adebayo.
For a Clippers team that has been (to put it kindly) lackluster on the defensive end for stretches during this regular season, the Heat offer a potent combination capable of punishing them. Can the Clippers lock in mentally despite circling trade rumors and put forth the massive effort required to contain and defeat a very good Miami team?
You can find out first-hand, as tickets are still available for this game on StubHub.
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