The LA Clippers picked up their season-best fourth consecutive victory on Monday night over the Portland Trail Blazers. On an evening where they did not have their best showing, the Clippers still found a way to push through and eke out a win.
Kawhi Leonard continued his strong play with 34 points and an efficient 11-for-19 shooting mark. It appears that the Clippers are finally starting to come into their own and things are beginning to click for this star-studded group.
However, there is still one concerning trend related to LA's rotation. Head Coach Tyronn Lue showed once again on Monday that his rotation is still rather short, and the players in the starting lineup are getting the majority of the minutes by a mile.
The Clippers' rotation is still very top-heavy
Against Portland, Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, James Harden, Ivica Zubac and Terance Mann played a combined 179 minutes. LA's five starters averaged 35.8 minutes per game collectively. Outside of the typical starting five, only four other players saw the floor.
The Clippers have had extremely good injury luck this season, with the core four of Leonard, George, Westbrook and Harden all yet to miss a game. But this luck will begin to run out if Ty Lue continues playing all his starters such high minutes every night out.
As Kawhi said after the victory over the Trail Blazers, playing your best players typically will produce the best results. But the Clippers must be careful about overworking the players that they need to be healthy come playoff time.
Such a clean slate of injury luck this year is rather uncharted territory for the Clippers. After years of load management, the coaching staff will need to cautiously approach the minutes situation going forward so as not to overcorrect the previous trend.