The past couple weeks have not been too friendly for the Clippers — they’ve won just five of their 12 games in January so far which has contributed to their below-.500 record that puts them squarely into play-in territory. While it might be impressive to see how a team without its stars (and much of its supporting cast on any given day) stays competitive against even the most elite teams, it is throwing their playoff chances into jeopardy, making the matchup against the Wizards in Washington all the more important.
A win in DC is not far-fetched either, especially when looking at the individual jumps that certain players on the Clipper roster have experienced themselves. Reggie Jackson has averaged just under 25 points in the past four games, demonstrating how he’s moved on from his earlier inconsistency to a more reliable option on offense. He’s been able to do that by working to get closer to the basket on scoring opportunities, rather than be forced to bail out the team from distance as the shot clock expires. Ivica Zubac has also cemented himself as a hard-working big man with room to grow. Not only has his jump hook become a go-to weapon in his post move arsenal, but he’s fresh off of recording three double-doubles in a row — a career-best streak — two of which were against MVP-caliber centers (Nikola Jokić and Joel Embiid).
When: Tuesday, January 25 at 4 p.m. PT
Where: Capital One Arena, Washington, D.C.
How to watch/listen: Bally Sports SoCal, AM 570 ESPN
Opposing perspective: Bullets Forever
Projected Starting Lineups
Clippers: Reggie Jackson, Amir Coffey, Terance Mann, Nicolas Batum, Ivica Zubac
Wizards: Spencer Dinwiddie, Bradley Beal, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Kyle Kuzma, Daniel Gafford
Clippers: Paul George, Keon Johnson, Kawhi Leonard, Marcus Morris Sr., Jason Preston — OUT
Wizards: Isaiah Todd — OUT
This next game against the Wizards, though, can’t be viewed as a shoo-in. Compared to the Clippers, they hold an advantage on the offensive end, boasting a higher offensive rating along with better assist and turnover numbers, showing just how important it is to prevent turning the ball over against a team that is able to convert on the other end. Plus, with players like Bradley Beal and Spencer Dinwiddie, there will be even more pressure on the Clippers defense to contain the offensive capabilities of the Wizards.
This game marks the halfway point of the Clippers’ longest road trip of the season, and a win to get this trip’s record to 2-2 could be a motivating factor for a team with three more states to visit before finally returning home to face the Lakers in February.