At this point in the season, it’s pretty uncommon to label a game as “must win” at about the midway point. But for Paul George, he believes that this is one of those as the Clippers wrap up the first half of their season on the road against the Wizards.
When: Thursday, Mar. 4 at 4:00 p.m. PT
Where: Capital One Arena, Washington D.C.
How to watch/listen: Prime Ticket, AM 570 Radio
Opposing perspective: Bullets Forever
Projected Starting Lineups
Clippers (24-13): Reggie Jackson, Patrick Beverley, Paul George, Serge Ibaka, Nicolas Batum
Wizards (13-20): Garrison Mathews, Russell Westbrook, Bradley Beal, Moritz Wagner, Rui Hachimura
Clippers: Kawhi Leonard (back spasms) — QUESTIONABLE, Marcus Morris Sr. (concussion) — DOUBTFUL, Patrick Patterson (personal reasons) — OUT
The last couple of weeks have been a struggle for the Clippers. They’re 3-5 over their last eight games and they’ve lost three of their last four games. The final game of the first half is against a Wizards team near the bottom of the standings in the East.
Winning every game is important, but George thinks this game is crucial for the Clippers.
“We want to go into the break with a win and something positive to lean on,” he said following Tuesday’s loss to the Celtics. “The game is a must win.”
All of a sudden, the Clippers find themselves tied with the Lakers in the standings. With a loss, LA will move to No. 4 in the West. In addition to the standings, tonight’s game will completely change how the team goes into the All-Star break. With a win, at least they wrapped up the road trip with a victory and head into the break with some confidence. With a loss, the team will be riding a three-game losing streak and they’ll head into the break frustrated.
When these two teams met recently, the Clippers came out victorious 135-114. However, don’t let that score fool you. LA had only a five-point lead as they entered the fourth quarter. They outscored Washington 36-22 over the final frame to make the game appear as a blowout. Kawhi Leonard and PG both dropped 30, but the Clippers could be without Leonard as he’s dealing with back spasms. There’s also a chance they’re without Marcus Morris as well.
If those two are out, the Clippers will need to look for nearly 40 points elsewhere. Washington’s record is a little misleading. This is a Wizards team that can score, as they’re averaging 115 points a game. If Washington gets their 115, it’s going to be a battle for LA to reach at least 115 without their two offensive weapons.