After winning two games in a not-so-pretty fashion, the Clippers seem to have smoothed out some of their on-court issues in preparation for their packed wintertime schedule. That includes five games (with two back-to-backs) in the seven days following Christmas, prior to a nearly three-week road trip that will take place later in January. The early afternoon matchup against the shorthanded Magic might prove to be a useful game for the team to continue working out its kinks on offense and defense as games become a bit more consequential.
After all, the Magic are set to arrive in Los Angeles with a 5-21 record, including their latest loss to the Kings, who were able to score 142 points against the Orlando defense. Additionally, they’ve racked up a league-worst defensive rating of 127.3 so far in their Western Conference road trip. For a Clippers team with a bottom-five offense among all NBA teams, a defensive rating like that might allow players to finally get in more of a rhythm and for the team to get in some sort of flow on the offensive side of things.
Paul George is still listed as day-to-day and after seeing his worrying lack of comfort during warm ups against the Celtics in their most recent game, it’s not a stretch to think that Ty Lue might sit him to prevent injury. If so, we’ll be able to see Brandon Boston attempt to extend his hot streak into the Clippers’ upcoming matchups. He dropped 27 points against the Celtics with four steals shortly after scoring 46 in the G-League, proving how his selection at the 51st pick was a bargain.
However, the Clippers can’t take the Magic for granted—it’s their first matchup of the season, and players like Wendell Carter Jr. and Cole Anthony could make an unprecedented impact on the game. Plus, the Clippers are no stranger to fumbling easy wins against non-playoff contenders, having lost to teams like the Pelicans and Kings. Regardless, LA’s the favorite, and a good win could mean a lot for a team wanting to return to the consistency they displayed during their seven-game win streak earlier in the season.
When: Wednesday, December 11 at 12:30 p.m. PT
Where: STAPLES Center, Los Angeles, California
How to watch/listen: Bally Sports SoCal, AM 570 ESPN
Opposing perspective: Orlando Pinstriped Post
Projected Starting Lineups
Clippers: Reggie Jackson, Terance Mann, Amir Coffey, Marcus Morris Sr., Ivica Zubac
Magic: Cole Anthony, Gary Harris, Franz Wagner, Wendell Carter Jr., Mo Bamba
Clippers: Nicolas Batum — DOUBTFUL; Paul George, Jason Preston, Kawhi Leonard — OUT
Magic: Jalen Suggs, Michael Carter-Williams, E’Twaun Moore, Jonathan Isaac, Markelle Fultz — OUT
This post will serve as the game thread. Enjoy the game, and comment below.