One of the worries about the Clippers roster heading into this season was the lack of depth — not so much in quality, but in quantity. With three roster spots committed to rookies and another to Kawhi Leonard, the Clippers would have at best 11 rotation players available on any given night, assuming full health.
Full health has obviously not been the case for the Clippers so far, as Marcus Morris and Serge Ibaka have only played two games apiece. And now Terance Mann, who has been playing 30 minutes a night this season, is questionable with a sprained left ankle, an injury he suffered chasing down Lonzo Ball on a fast break Sunday.
That volume of injuries would be hard enough to sustain during a normal stretch of schedule, but the Clippers are in the middle of a series of five games in seven days, and Ty Lue already bemoaned playing his guys too many minutes against Chicago. Perhaps that’s why Brandon Boston Jr. has been recalled from the G League for Tuesday’s matchup against San Antonio, though the rookie has played just 13 minutes over four games thus far.
Nevertheless, injuries or not, this is still a Clippers squad that should be comfortably favored against the 4-9 Spurs.
When: Tuesday, November 16 at 7:30 p.m. PT
Where: STAPLES Center, Los Angeles, California
How to watch/listen: Bally Sports SoCal, AM 570 ESPN
Opposing perspective: Pounding the Rock
Projected Starting Lineups
Clippers: Eric Bledsoe, Reggie Jackson, Paul George, Nicolas Batum, Ivica Zubac
Spurs: Derrick White, Dejounte Murray, Keldon Johnson, Doug McDermott, Drew Eubanks
Clippers: Terance Mann — QUESTIONABLE; Serge Ibaka, Keon Johnson, Kawhi Leonard, Marcus Morris Sr., Jason Preston — OUT
Spurs: Zach Collins, Jock Landale, Jakob Poeltl, Joshua Primo — OUT
San Antonio has struggled even more on offense than the Clippers have to start the season, ranking 21st in points per possession. They don’t get to the rim or free throw line often or take many threes, which means they rely on a heavy diet of midrange jumpers. Those are shots the Clippers will be willing to concede, but they have to make sure the Spurs don’t get too comfortable like DeMar DeRozan did.
Defensively, San Antonio allows the opposite shot profile, so the Clippers should be able to get into the paint and spray out for threes, provided they play with their usual pace to put some pressure on the Spurs. The Clippers bigs especially need to take advantage of the absence of Jakob Poeltl in the middle.
This is the end of a six-game homestand, and the Clippers have won four of five games so far. A win would regain some positive momentum as the team heads back out on the road. A victory will require a little extra effort from the Clippers core players, but that outcome is well within the team’s reach.