The Clippers are more than just a team, an organization, a culture. As cliché as it may be, “family” seems like the right word: this is a family of Clipper-loving players, coaches, and fans.
This camaraderie was on full display in last night’s game against the Blazers.
Reggie Jackson took over in the middle of his best friend Paul George’s interview, giving us his best shot at a George impersonation. He playfully shared, “I’m Paul George so when the team needed it the most, I came here to do what I do. So it’s great being [number] 13. I’m a special player. I don’t like to brag really, so I have my teammates do it.”
And he made sure to show PG some more love before letting him free: “But I appreciate you carrying us tonight.”
Behind the two soul mates was rookie Brandon Boston Jr., who couldn’t hide his smile — despite being on the team for less than half a season, he seems to be welcomed by and comfortable around his teammates.
This distinctly Clipper bond has been around for quite some time.
George and Jackson have long decorated press conferences with their touching words for each other. Neither Marcus Morris Sr. nor Nicolas Batum had a problem with coming off the bench behind one another; rather, they understood and had faith in Coach Tyronn Lue’s decision. And if it weren’t for this level of trust and respect in this team, I doubt we would’ve had as much success from our young players, whether it’d be Terance Mann exploding for 39 points in the playoffs or Boston putting on a show the past few games.
As of recent, two of the most prominent Clippers-backed and trusted players have been Boston and Luke Kennard. The 20-year-old Kentucky product is coming off a solid performance, dropping 13 points on 5-of-11 shooting. As for Cool Hand Luke, he’s been nothing less than hot this December: he is averaging 16.3 points per contest and effortlessly draining 53.8 percent of his long-range shots.
Next Up: the Boston Celtics.
They, too, boast culture and a family-like bond: four of the five players in the projected starting lineup have been Celtics for the entirety of their careers.
And, trust me, they can ball. Both Jayson Tatum and Dennis Schröder are fresh off 31-point feasts in Saturday’s win over Portland.
The Clippers will look to stymie these hot hands with a weapon of their own — their tough perimeter defense and elite shot-blocking. They’ve put brakes on opponents very well this season (their defensive rating is the league’s third-best).
On the offensive end, the Clippers, riding on adrenaline, will look to the sharp-shooting backcourt duo to make it rain from deep against a tough-defending Marcus Smart and a smaller Schröder.
Let’s not forget Morris. He’s had the best three-game stretch of this season (maybe even in his entire three years as a Clipper), averaging just under 20 points and shooting 56.8 percent from the field.
And PG, we hope, will continue to work his magic.
When: Wednesday, December 8 at 7:30 p.m. PT
Where: STAPLES Center, Los Angeles, California
How to watch/listen: Bally Sports SoCal, AM 570 ESPN
Opposing perspective: Celtics Blog
Projected Starting Lineups
Clippers (13-12): Reggie Jackson, Terance Mann, Nicolas Batum, Marcus Morris Sr., Ivica Zubac
Celtics (13-12): Dennis Schröder, Marcus Smart, Grant Williams, Jayson Tatum, Robert Williams
Clippers: Paul George, Keon Johnson, Kawhi Leonard, Jason Preston — OUT
Celtics: Jaylen Brown, Bruno Fernando, Jabari Parker — OUT
This post will serve as the game thread. Enjoy the game, and comment below!