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Clippers vs. Heat Preview: Miami has fallen off after a hot start

The league’s third-best defense faces off against the league’s fourth-best offense.

Portland Trail Blazers v LA Clippers Photo by Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images

It’s hard not to see the sensation masked in goggles, Reggie Jackson, through rose-colored glasses.

The spectacular Clipper in spectacles, mismatched shoes, and one too many accessories has brought fans onto their feet with his Mr. June mojo as of recent. Despite starting the season off cold, he has found his groove lately, hitting daggers left and right and putting opponents on skates every time he’s handling the rock: he is averaging 21.2 points and shooting an impressive 46 percent from the field and 42.5 percent from downtown during the team’s five-game winning streak.

While Paul George’s MVP-caliber start to the season is undoubtedly the main impetus for the recent success of the Clippers, it is only after Jackson stepped up that the Clippers found themselves consistently exiting arenas with a win — they’ve won all five of their last five, in case you forgot.

Matched up against a slower and less athletic guard like Duncan Robinson, Jackson will look to step harder on the accelerator and continue to push the pace and beat defenders down the court. And so will his teammates — the likes of Eric Bledsoe and George who are known to fiercely attack the rim on a fastbreak — as the Clippers rank seventh in pace in the league.

How well they get to the basket will be the key to tomorrow's matchup as the Heat have a reputation for effectively clogging and protecting the paint when their defense is set. Not only are they fourth in defensive rebounds and first in second-chance points allowed, but they also only allow 40.2 points in the paint per contest, which is second in the league.

Ty Lue’s Clippers will look to break down Miami’s defense in ways they’ve broken down other teams. Luke Kennard and Nicolas Batum will aim to light it up from beyond the arc; they have helped the Clippers sit at fourth in the league for three-pointers made per game.

When their threes start falling and space starts to open up, the Clippers will have more than enough weapons to play havoc with the Heat. Batum and Terance Mann have been reliable secondary offensive threats when they find space near the rim and finish with exhilarating dunks or, in the case of Mann, revitalizing and-ones. Let’s not forget George, who has been doing it all for the Clippers regardless of the number of defenders on him.

Ten games into the season, it finally looks like everyone is onboard captain George’s ship. Miami is just another wave to get past in this arduous journey.


Game Information

When: Thursday, November 11 at 7:30 p.m. PT

Where: STAPLES Center, Los Angeles, CA

How to watch/listen: NBA TV and Bally Sports SoCal, AM 570 ESPN

Opposing perspective: Hot Hot Hoops

Projected Starting Lineups

Clippers: Eric Bledsoe, Reggie Jackson, Paul George, Nicolas Batum, Ivica Zubac

Heat: Kyle Lowry, Duncan Robinson, Jimmy Butler, P.J. Tucker, Bam Adebayo

Injuries/Absences

Clippers: Brandon Boston Jr., Serge Ibaka, Keon Johnson, Kawhi Leonard, Marcus Morris Sr., Jason Preston — OUT

Heat: Jimmy Butler, Markieff Morris, Victor Oladipo, Max Strus — OUT