The LA Clippers begin their road trip with a game in San Antonio against the Spurs.
Looking to bounce back after two disappointing games at home over the weekend, the LA Clippers take to the road. Their first stop? San Antonio to play the Spurs. The Spurs enter the contest 6-4 while the Clippers are 5-4. A win here could be a huge morale booster for the team and could right the ship. Hopefully the Clips can apply what they learned over the weekend.
Blake Griffin typically plays well against the Spurs. LaMarcus Aldridge cannot guard him, so expect Blake to have yet another monster game. The forward is averaging 23.7 points, 4.3 assists and 8.4 rebounds per game, while shooting and making a career high in threes. (42% on 5 attempts per game.) He’s also averaging one Jenner as his girlfriend.
Small Forward Position
This position is interesting for both teams. The Spurs have yet to have Kawhi Leonard play in a game after his postseason was cut short last year. Meanwhile, the LA Clippers have announced that Danilo Gallinari is doubtful to play after suffering a left glute strain. If he does get scratched from the lineup, Wes Johnson will most likely start.
Wes Johnson has been a lot better for the Clippers so far this season. After rarely cracking the rotation for the team last year, he is contributing 5.2 points per game on 38% shooing. He may not make up completely for Gallinari, but in the team’s 9 games, he has proved that he can contribute.
Taking the back-up minutes for Johnson will be Sam Dekker, who was a part of the bench unit that led the near comeback against the Heat on Saturday. Dekker hasn’t fully cracked the rotation for the Clippers, but his athleticism and energy may make Doc have to reconsider his rotations.
The Spurs may not be fully healthy. As mentioned above, Kawhi Leonard has yet to play a game. Tony Parker is still being assigned to the Spurs G-League team so he can get conditioning in at practice. However, that doesn’t seem to matter and the Spurs just keep on being the Spurs. LaMarcus Aldridge has played extremely well after inking a contract extension over the summer and young “nobodies” apparently are ready to play.
The Clippers will need to come in and attack early. If Blake can get going in the first, it should open up the court for everyone else. In an ideal world, the Clips will come out fired up after two losses that shouldn’t have been. They need to get an early lead and trust each other to not blow it, as Clippers’ teams of the past notoriously have. Doc Rivers doesn’t need to get into a coaching battle with Popovich, because let’s face it: he’ll lose. If Blake Griffin can continue to play at the MVP level he has been, the Clippers should be able to pull of this win and start their 8 of the next 9 on the road in the right way.