A quick look at the Clippers’ 34-33 record might not necessarily impress the average NBA fan, but it might impress those who have kept up with the trajectory of this season. Currently, the Clippers hold a better record than the star-studded Nets, and have a considerable cushion between the 9th-seed Lakers, facts that no one in their right mind would have projected knowing the injury situation the Clippers have faced.
After a seven-game winning streak was interrupted by two losses against the Knicks and Warriors, the Clippers now have an opportunity to steady the ship as they sail towards the play-in (while striving to secure the sixth seed).
Sitting five games under .500, the Wizards are not a particularly threatening team, especially when compared to some of the more recent matchups the Clippers had to face. Still, with their newly-acquired big man, Kristaps Porziņģis, the Wizards have weapons they will lean on when the time comes to take the court. Porziņģis scored 25 points in his debut for his new team, and teammate Kyle Kuzma has averaged over 27 points through the past five games. The absence of Bradley Beal has posed a persistent challenge for the team, but Kuzma and Porziņģis can’t be taken for granted.
When: Wednesday, March 9 at 7 p.m. PT
Where: Crypto.com Arena, Los Angeles, CA
How to watch/listen: Bally Sports SoCal, AM 570 ESPN
Opposing perspective: Bullets Forever
Spread: Clippers -3.5, Wizards +3.5
Projected Starting Lineups
Clippers: Reggie Jackson, Terance Mann, Marcus Morris Sr., Nicolas Batum, Ivica Zubac
Wizards: Ish Smith, Corey Kispert, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Kyle Kuzma, Kristaps Porziņģis
Clippers: Robert Covington, Norman Powell, Jay Scrubb, Paul George, Kawhi Leonard, Jason Preston — OUT
Wizards: Raul Neto — DAY-TO-DAY; Vernon Carey Jr., Bradley Beal — OUT
The Clippers, on the other hand, have a diverse array of weapons that, on a good night, can end the game early. Reggie Jackson just had a career night against the Lakers, while Ivica Zubac has continued to make himself known as a starting-caliber center with a legitimate interior presence. Despite that, the Clippers must approach this matchup with a sense of urgency—their spot in the play-in is still vulnerable, and a stretch of bad games at this point in the season could end up being more consequential than any stretch of games before the All-Star break. If the Clippers do come to play, however, this game could give them just a little more momentum as they get closer to the playoffs, which could prove to be season-changing.
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