This season has been a lot of fixing and adjusting — and I mean, a lot.
Unexpectedly, the team lost its superstar early in the season. Amir Coffey, who didn’t see much action the past two seasons for the Clippers, stepped up big time in place of injured players. And the addition of a prolific Norman Powell and a hard-defending Robert Covington gave two more options to what already was a deep team.
Between these adjustments were both times of success and struggles, ranging from a 35-point comeback to a recent five-game losing streak. But with two games left of the season, the Clippers, thanks to the return of Paul George and Powell, have found their rhythm and are playing their best basketball.
When: Saturday, April 9 at 6:30 p.m. PT
Where: Crypto.com Arena, Los Angeles, CA
How to watch/listen: Bally Sports SoCal, AM 570 ESPN
Opposing perspective: Sactown Royalty
Spread: Clippers -11.5, Kings +11.5
Projected Starting Lineups
Clippers: Reggie Jackson, Paul George, Marcus Morris Sr., Nicolas Batum, Ivica Zubac
Kings: Davion Mitchell, Justin Holiday, Trey Lyles, Harrison Barnes, Damion Jones
Clippers: Kawhi Leonard, Jason Preston, Jay Scrubb — OUT
Kings: Terence Davis, De’Aaron Fox, Richaun Holmes, Alex Len, Domantas Sabonis — OUT
On the stat sheet, the return of the star wing players means a lot for the Clippers: the two lead the team in scoring with George averaging 24.4 and Powell 18.9 points.
It’s not just added points that these players bring to the table, though.
George is a superstar who can produce when the team needs it the most. And he can do it from anywhere. His ball-handling helps him put defenders on skates for long-range shots while his size gives him the edge over most guards near the rim.
As for Powell, he’s a lights-out shooter who can also use his speed and athleticism for hard takes to the rim. Put them together, the team has two capable scorers who can take over games and combine for 40 each night.
And this should open up better looks for Reggie Jackson who took the role of the team’s first option in their absence. For shooters like Luke Kennard and Covington, opponents’ heavier defensive emphasis on George and Powell will mean more catch-and-shoot opportunities.
It’s when we see these plays fall in action that the Clippers play their best basketball. In their last three games, all of which they’ve won, the Clips are averaging 128.3 points on 51.1 shooting from the field and 46.3 percent from downtown.
George and the Clippers will eye their 41st win of the season against the Kings tonight.
This post will serve as the game thread. Enjoy the game, and comment below.