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Clippers vs. Pacers Preview: Amir Coffey has been brewing something special

The injury-plagued Clippers look to bounce back.

Denver Nuggets v LA Clippers Photo by Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images

Now open, the Coffey shop.

Given big minutes and a spot on the starting lineup for the first time in his NBA career, Amir Coffey has been a pleasant surprise for the 213, to say the least. In his last five games as a starter, the third-year Clipper has been caffeinating the offense, averaging 14.2 points on 53.2 percent shooting from the field, 3.8 assists, and 5.0 rebounds per game.

But stats alone can’t quite capture what he’s been doing for the Clippers.

Take, for example, his palpable presence in the Clippers’ 25-point comeback against the Denver Nuggets. The Coffey show — draining much-needed catch-and-shoot three-pointers, beating the Nuggets down the floor, and logging four steals — was on full display for more than 43 minutes.

Unfortunately, however, Coffey’s new year’s success has been one of only a few things that has given flavor to the Clippers’ bland start to 2022. The team has dropped down two games below the .500 mark and, more importantly, are struggling to find the bottom of the net: they are averaging just 99.6 points (lowest scoring month of the season) on a substandard 42.4 percent shooting from the field and 31.8 from downtown.


Game Information

When: Monday, January 17 at 12:30 p.m. PT

Where: Crypto.com Arena, Los Angeles, CA

How to watch/listen: Bally Sports SoCal, AM 570 ESPN

Opposing perspective: Indy Cornrows

Projected Starting Lineups

Clippers: Reggie Jackson, Amir Coffey, Marcus Morris Sr., Nicolas Batum, Ivica Zubac

Pacers: Duane Washington Jr., Caris LeVert, Justin Holiday, Torrey Craig, Domantas Sabonis

Injuries/Absences

Clippers: Paul George, Luke Kennard, Kawhi Leonard, Jason Preston — OUT

Pacers: Malcolm Brogdon, Jeremy Lamb, T.J. McConnell, Myles Turner, T.J. Warren — OUT


One reason for the Clippers’ offensive struggles is injuries. Without the 24.7 points Paul George provides each game, the team competes shorthanded on the offensive end; not to mention, the team lost their purest shooter in Kennard, someone who can drain shot after shot anywhere from the floor, at any given moment.

Another reason for the team’s struggles is the Clippers’ lack of intensity on the offensive end. Maybe it’s because they lost an extremely athletic Kawhi Leonard to an ACL injury or dropped a hard-fighting Patrick Beverley in a trade with the Memphis Grizzlies. But the Clippers rank 28th in the percentage of their shots at the rim.

The Clippers have also been struggling to grab offensive boards (fourth-worst in the league) and create easier looks off second-hand opportunities — they are averaging a league-worst 9.3 second-chance points.

The Clippers can make it much harder for opponents to slow them down when they can generate second and third chances and capitalize off them, whether it’s through a kick-out pass followed by an open jumper or an emphatic put-back by any of the bigs.

Luckily for the Clippers, the current betting odds are in their favor at home against the struggling Indiana Pacers. The 13th-seeded Pacers also haven’t had the most favorable start to 2022: they’ve only won one game in the calendar year and are coming into L.A. with a three-game losing streak on their shoulders.

The Clippers, if they want to come out on top in this matchup, will look to their dependable defense. The team can take advantage of the Pacers’ inconsistent long-range shooting while stuffing the paint to slow down the likes of Domantas Sabonis.

A win against the Pacers will be the favorite way to end their last home game of the month before the Clippers take on a grueling eight-game road trip.

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