Paul George, Reggie Jackson, now Nic Batum — more and more Clippers are getting hot every game.
After just one double-digit scoring outing in his first four games, Clip Nation’s favorite Frenchman has reached the mark in all five of his next six contests. Averaging 15.0 points, 6.5 rebounds, and 1.7 steals per game in that same time frame, Batum is back to the stellar play, on both ends of the floor, that earned him fan favorite status last season.
When: Saturday, November 13 at 7:30 p.m. PT
Where: STAPLES Center, Los Angeles, California
How to watch/listen: Bally Sports SoCal, AM 570 ESPN
Opposing perspective: Canis Hoopus
Projected Starting Lineups
Clippers: Eric Bledsoe, Reggie Jackson, Paul George, Nicolas Batum, Ivica Zubac
Timberwolves: Patrick Beverley, D’Angelo Russell, Anthony Edwards, Jaden McDaniels, Karl-Anthony Towns
Clippers: Brandon Boston, Serge Ibaka, Keon Johnson, Kawhi Leonard, Marcus Morris Sr., Jason Preston — OUT
The Clippers find themselves defending a six-game win streak. And as stellar as George has been for the Clippers, the wins didn’t start piling up until the role players stepped up their contributions for the Clippers as well.
While stretch big Serge Ibaka and projected starter Marcus Morris have been rehabbing from their injuries, Batum has proved more than adequate at holding the power forward position down.
Shooting 53.2 percent from the field and 46.7 percent from three in 28.8 minutes per game, Batum has proved himself as an efficient cog in Ty Lue’s offense. A handful of stellar defensive plays to secure a Clippers victory on Thursday against the Heat, however, are testament to his contributions on defense as well. Throughout this six-game win streak, Batum’s extra passes, dead-eye shooting, and effective team defense have been crucial.
The Timberwolves, on the other hand, are struggling to crawl back after an early slide, including two losses to the Clippers. They face the Clippers on the second night of a back-to-back, after beating the Lakers and ending the losing streak at six games on Friday. Anthony Edwards has emerged as a bonafide star in this league, while Karl-Anthony Towns proves his status as an elite offensive big. The return of D’Angelo Russell, furthermore, provides a wrinkle in the Timberwolves offense that the Clippers have yet to face.
Look for Lue and the Clippers to keep being aggressive. Expect George to keep impacting the game on offense as well as defense. Anticipate Jackson, Eric Bledsoe, and Terance Mann to keep attacking the paint. But no matter what you do, don’t let it distract you from Batum, doing what he always does: making the hustle plays and the extra passes, the game-clinching highlight steals as well as the under-appreciated dives for loose balls, and overall doing everything he can to help the Clippers keep winning.