Want to hear the good news or the bad news first?
I’ll start with the bad news: the Los Angeles Clippers won’t be able to secure a spot in the 2022 Playoffs without winning a game or two in the play-in tournament. On the flip side, at this pace, the Clippers will finish as the eight-seed and have two different games — chances, I should say — to reach the Playoffs.
If you don’t mind me bringing up other not-so-pleasant news, the Clippers have lost all of their last five games and have only won two in their last 10.
When: Tuesday, March 29 at 7 p.m. PT
Where: Crypto.com Arena, Los Angeles, California
How to watch/listen: Bally Sports SoCal, AM 570 ESPN
Opposing perspective: SLC Dunk
Spread: Clippers +1, Jazz -1
Projected Starting Lineups
Clippers: Reggie Jackson, Amir Coffey, Marcus Morris Sr., Nicolas Batum, Ivica Zubac
Jazz: Mike Conley Jr., Donovan Mitchell, Royce O’Neale, Juancho Hernangomez
Clippers: Paul George — QUESTIONABLE; Norman Powell, Kawhi Leonard, Jason Preston, Jay Scrubb — OUT
Jazz: Bojan Bogdanovic, Rudy Gobert, Danuel House Jr. — QUESTIONABLE; Udoka Azubuike, Hassan Whiteside — OUT
Sure, the record they finish with won’t have much of an impact on their seeding or their ‘road’ to the playoffs. But it does affect two other things, though: the well-being of us Clippers fans and, more importantly, momentum going into the play-in tournament. There most definitely will be a difference between a team that goes into a must-win game having won multiple in a row and a team coming off a losing streak.
So, how exactly will they get back on the winning column? A more combined effort.
The team, collectively, has been shooting the ball well, especially from behind the arc. But it’s too often that we see an off night from one or two key players each game, limiting the amount of offensive versatility this team can have.
Take, for example, the recent shooting slumps of two of the team’s best shooters, Marcus Morris Sr. and Luke Kennard.
Morris in his last four games capitalized off just two of his 17 three-point attempts. As for the former Blue Devil Luke Kennard, 7 of his last 24. While Kennard’s numbers aren’t as concerning as Morris’, it’s also a noticeable decline in aggression and willingness to attack that may be of concern. He, for instance, shot just 2 shots, both of which he missed, in 22 minutes against the Raptors.
These two sharp-shooters, alongside fellow Clippers who have had their fair share of struggles, are not playing at the level they are capable of playing, which is holding back the Clippers recently.
A win against a talented team in the Jazz might be just what the team needs before entering their final stretch of the season. Also keep an eye out for the potential long-anticipated return for the team’s leading scorer, Paul George.
This post will serve as the game thread. Enjoy the game, and comment below.