Over the past decade, the Clippers played with different coaches, players, and results. But they still have one common defining characteristic: their grit.
Whatever the score, it never seems safe to count the Clippers out. Under the prudence of Tyronn Lue, they keep on fighting under the final buzzer. It’s no coincidence that the same team that completed a 31-point comeback to upset the first-seeded Warriors in 2019 also has the second-biggest comeback in NBA history, after all.
And while these historic performances attest to the team’s toughness, this season, as a whole, shows exactly why this team is one of the most resilient teams in all of sports.
When: Friday, March 11 at 4:30 p.m. PT
Where: State Farm Arena, Atlanta, GA
How to watch/listen: BSSE-ATLBSSC / WZGCKLAC/KTMZ (RADIO)
Opposing perspective: Peachtree Hoops
Spread: Clippers -7.5, Hawks +7.5
Projected Starting Lineups
Clippers: Reggie Jackson, Terance Mann, Marcus Morris Sr., Nicolas Batum, Ivica Zubac
Hawks: Trae Young, Kevin Huerter, De’Andre Hunter, John Collins, Clint Capela
Clippers: Robert Covington, Norman Powell, Jay Scrubb, Paul George, Kawhi Leonard, Jason Preston — OUT
Hawks: Sharife Cooper, Jalen Johnson — OUT
Despite coming off their best playoff run in team history, the Clippers, to start the season, were often overlooked as contenders. And rightfully so — the team was expected to miss their best player in Kawhi Leonard for most, if not all, of the season due to a right knee injury.
Still, led by Paul George’s early ‘MVPG’ campaign, the Clippers gained some traction, securing the fourth seed and showing the league that they still had gas left in the tank. Until they lost George to a torn UCL, that is.
Without their two best players (they historically would combine for over 50 points each night), there didn’t seem to be much hope for this team’s season. Emphasis on “seem” — truth be told, with just 15 games left of the season, the Clippers boast a winning record of 35-33 and comfortably sit at the number eight spot.
It wasn’t with a jaw-dropping trade or a rookie having an outbreak season that secured them a spot in the play-in tournament, though.
Whether it’d be a showy big-scoring night from Reggie Jackson or 7 threes from the sharp-shooting Luke Kennard, it was the players, any one of them, stepping up to win their games.
Amir Coffey, who’s averaging a career-high 8.7 points per contest, has carried the team’s load, starting and being a legitimate scorer for the Clippers early into the year. Isaiah Hartenstein and Ivica Zubac have been the team’s sturdy cornerstone, holding it down on the defensive end and logging on a few buckets as well. Marcus Morris Sr. and Robert Covington, too, have been reliable three-point shooters for the team while their veteran influence helped the team down the stretch.
In these ways, the Clippers, as a team, are competing at a high level going into the final stretch of the season. With superstars Leonard and George recently being seen putting up shots, it might not be too long until we see this team at full strength.
And it’s at full strength this team will be that much harder to beat.
This post will serve as the game thread. Enjoy the game, and comment below.