It was only last September that the LA Clippers were playing the final games of the Doc Rivers era, as they crashed and burned together in the second round of the playoffs. Rivers helped turn the Clippers around and make the entire organization relevant and no longer a punchline, but on the court, the arrangement seemed to run its course.
Now, Doc is in charge of the Philadelphia 76ers, his old assistant coach Tyronn Lue now leads the Clips, and oh, look here, the teams are squaring off at Staples Center on Saturday evening. Plenty of narrative potential in this one.
When: Saturday, Mar. 27 at 7 p.m. PT
Where: Staples Center, Los Angeles, California
How to watch/listen: Fox Sports Prime Ticket, AM 570 Radio
Opposing perspective: Liberty Ballers
Projected Starting Lineups
Clippers (30-16): Reggie Jackson, Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, Ivica Zubac, Marcus Morris Sr.
Sixers (32-13): Danny Green, Tobias Harris, Mike Scott, Seth Curry, Ben Simmons
Clippers: Kawhi Leonard (foot), Marcus Morris Sr. (calf) — QUESTIONABLE; Serge Ibaka (back tightness), Patrick Beverley (right knee soreness) — OUT
Sixers: Joel Embiid (knee), George Hill (thumb) — OUT
The Clippers are riding high, on a four-game winning streak that includes back-to-back wins over the San Antonio Spurs in Texas in recent days. The most recent win, on Thursday, came after Lou Williams was traded to the Atlanta Hawks for Rajon Rondo, and Kawhi Leonard was a surprise late scratch with a foot injury.
While Leonard and Marcus Morris Sr., who also missed Thursday’s game with an injury, are questionable and could return, the Sixers are actually quite good this season. Their star big man Joel Embiid is injured and won’t feature in this game, which is a reprieve for the Clippers, but Philadelphia have been rolling this season and sit atop the Eastern Conference, with a better record than the Clippers.
In fact, the Sixers are on their own four-game winning streak and have a solid 13-9 record on the road, including a win on Thursday over a star-less Los Angeles Lakers side. Clearly Philly will hope Kawhi is sidelined again, but if he’s around, this could be a very, very tasty matchup.
And clearly, this is a regular season game and I expect both teams will downplay the Clippers-Doc angles coming in. Still, I bet you there’s a little extra spice for this game, and two good teams will look to pick up a win and keep on rolling. This should be a good game.