LA Clippers Weekend Primer: Back-to-back reunions for Kawhi, PG

LA Clippers Paul George Kawhi Leonard (Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
LA Clippers Paul George Kawhi Leonard (Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /

After suffering a tough loss at home to the Houston Rockets, the LA Clippers will face off with familiar foes in Oklahoma City and San Antonio this weekend.

The LA Clippers suffered one of their toughest losses of the season Thursday night when they blew a 17-point lead at home to the Houston Rockets, a team they’ve become all too familiar with over the years. The two teams simply don’t get along, and there’s never any bad blood lost when they meet.

The loss pushed the Clippers back to the Western Conference’s third seed, behind the Los Angeles Lakers and Denver Nuggets, and bumped their home record down to 14-2.

This weekend, the Clippers will have a chance to get back on track — but they’ll again have to go through some well-known teams. It all starts Saturday night when LA will travel to San Antonio for the second time this season to take on the Spurs.

On their last trip down, the Spurs were responsible for handing the duo of Kawhi Leonard and Paul George their first loss of the season, 97-107. The two had their worst combined game of the season in San Antonio, combining for just 24 points on 10-of-34 shooting from the field.

Leonard looked rattled by the response he received from his former fans, and George had a miserable outing. His five points were the fewest he’d scored in a game since November 2017, and his five turnovers were among the most he’s committed in a game this season.

Neither player was effective whatsoever, and that’s something that has to change ahead of tonight’s game. And if recent history tells us anything, it’s that the Clippers should play well.

LA has lost consecutive games just once this season: Once in Houston without George, and the next the following day at New Orleans in his franchise debut, which Leonard did not play in.

The Clippers have also shown great resilience this season when it comes to tough losses. After getting blown out by the Milwaukee Bucks, LA won four straight on the road, including games against the Indiana Pacers and Toronto Raptors. After being embarrassed at home by Houston, they’ll want to make a statement in San Antonio.

The Spurs have been average since defeating the Clippers, going 4-3 in their last seven with losses to the Detroit Pistons, Cleveland Cavaliers and Rockets.

Following Saturday night’s game, the Clippers will travel to Oklahoma City for the first time this season. There, George will face his former home crowd, and LA will see Danilo Gallinari, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Chris Paul once again.

George’s reception will almost certainly be negative. He re-signed with the Thunder in 2018 before asking to be traded to LA in July, and if Pacers fans still haven’t gotten over it, Thunder fans likely haven’t either.

The two have met already once this season, without Leonard. George recorded 18 points and seven rebounds in a 90-88 win at STAPLES Center, while Gallinari, Gilgeous-Alexander and Paul combined for 47.

Again, things should be different this time. Although the Clippers will presumably be without Leonard (he’s yet to play both games of a back-to-back this season), they will have Landry Shamet back and could have JaMychal Green return as well, who has missed the last six games with a tailbone bruise.

LA will be challenged on this road trip, but fortunately they’ll get a chance to rest next Monday and Tuesday before facing off with the Lakers on Christmas.

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The LA Clippers will take on the San Antonio Spurs tonight at 5:30 p.m. PST and the Oklahoma City Thunder Sunday at 4:00 p.m. Be sure to follow along with us on Twitter for live updates and analysis!