The LA Clippers got a whole two days off, without any travel, before their next game, Sunday afternoon against the Los Angeles Lakers. It was such a luxury in a jam-packed season that head coach Ty Lue got to run a practice session ahead of the national TV showdown.
But that’s not the big story coming in, it’s that Lue declared “I think [Rajon] Rondo will play tomorrow.” That’s right, the Clips’ trade deadline addition could make his debut for his new team against the team with which he won the NBA title last season. Storylines for days!
When: Sunday, April 4 at 12:30 p.m. PT
Where: Staples Center, Los Angeles, California
How to watch/listen: ABC, FuboTV
Opposing perspective: Silver Screen & Roll
Projected Starting Lineups
Clippers (32-18): Reggie Jackson, Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, Ivica Zubac, Marcus Morris Sr.
Lakers (31-18): Kyle Kuzma, Markieff Morris, Marc Gasol, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Dennis Schroder
Clippers: Rajon Rondo (abductor) — QUESTIONABLE; Patrick Beverley (right knee), Serge Ibaka (lower back) — OUT
Lakers: Andre Drummond (toe), Wes Matthews (neck) — QUESTIONABLE; LeBron James (ankle), Anthony Davis (calf) — OUT
Both teams are dealing with ongoing injury issues but if Kawhi Leonard and Paul George feature in this one, as expected, then the bigger losses will be on the Lakers’ side, with LeBron James and Anthony Davis out indefinitely with injuries.
Still, the injury absences on both sides have gone on long enough for both teams to adjust without key contributors, and while the Clippers were on a six-game winning streak before dropping their last two games, the Lakers have found some equilibrium without their superstars, winning three of their last four games.
Lue emphasized the Clippers’ need to be mentally up for every opponent, no matter the circumstance.
“Well we have been that team as well, being undermanned and being able to win some games,” he said at practice. “We have been undermanned so we know how dangerous it can be. They’re a good team, they’re the champs. Vogel has done a good job of keeping those guys locked in, getting the big win last night in Sacramento. We are not going into the game thinking undermanned, it’s going to be an easy night because we know that is not going to be the case. We saw that against that Orlando as well. We’ve got to be ready to play no matter who we are playing.”
But this will also be the first glimpse, probably, of Rondo with the Clips. Will he look up to speed right away, or will we have to wait for “Playoff Rondo”? That’s a big question, but let’s see what the initial impression of the veteran will be with the Clippers.