Sunday, December 1, 2013 at 3:30 PM ET at the Staples Center
Game Preview: Pacers at Clippers
Scott Agness | November 29, 2013
After sixteen games, the Pacers venture off for their first big road trip of the season, and it couldn’t be much tougher. All five games are against Western Conference teams, the top four teams in the current standings and Utah, who has the worst record in the league. Then, the Pacers come home for their rematch against the two-time defending champion Miami Heat – one of two meetings in an eight-day span.
First up on the trip: the Los Angeles Clippers, who are 8-1 at home and have been victorious in eight of their last 10 contests. Indiana enters Sunday’s matinee with 6-1 record away from home. After traveling more than 2,000 miles to L.A., the Pacers’ first game on this trip will be at 12:30 p.m. local time in Los Angeles, which adds another element to the equation. This is the Clippers’ final game at home before living out of a suitcase for their next seven.
Doc Rivers, one of the top coaches in the league, is now the Clippers' head coach after nine seasons with Boston. He joined an elite squad in L.A., seeking the franchise’s first championship. With Rivers taking over, point guard Chris Paul agreed to a contract extension to remain with the team.
In July, they acquired sharpshooter J.J. Redick and forward Jared Dudley in trades with Milwaukee and Phoenix, respectively. They drafted Reggie Bullock with the 25th overall pick, re-signed Matt Barnes and Ryan Hollins, and added Byron Mullens and former Pacers point guard Darren Collison.
The Pacers’ first priority will be to slow down Paul, who’s off to an efficient season. He set a new NBA record with 13 consecutive double-doubles (points and assists) to open a season. He prefers to get out the run, then either get to the rim or send it off to a big man to finish at the hoop. When the Clippers score at least 20 points in transition, they’re 5-0.
The Clippers possess a high-octane offense, averaging almost 107 points per game—which is second only to Houston. The Pacers, however, have only given up 100-plus points one time and held 10 opponents below 90. The Clippers are fourth in field goal percentage (48 percent), but the Pacers have been holding opponents to a league-best 38.7 percent clip. Indiana must slow them down, protect the paint and not allow the Clippers to get out and run.
Like the Pacers, the Clippers have a set starting five. They’ve started the same group in every game. The first guy off the bench is once again Jamal Crawford, who went off in their most recent meeting. He’s averaging just under 15 points per game.
Pacers: Danny Granger (out, strained left calf), George Hill (day-to-day, sore left hip)
Clippers: Chris Paul (questionable, right hamstring strain); J.J. Redick (out, sprained right wrist), Matt Barnes (out, retinal tear - left eye), Maalik Wayns (torn meniscus - left knee)
“It’s a heck of a stretch. It’s exactly what it is: it’s a challenge. Our guys have really stepped up over these first 16 games, taking care of business against a lot of teams with lesser records. And now we’ll see what we can do against the big boys.” – Frank Vogel
“It’s a long season. It’s only a good start. That’s all we’re off to. We’re staying grounded and we’ve got a big test the next couple of weeks. … We want to be the best. We don’t want to be a good team amongst the best. We want to be the best.” – Vogel
“Probably the first one because this first one sets the tone for the trip and how things are going to be. If we want to have a successful road trip, we really have to put pressure on ourselves to make that first game successful.” – David West on the most difficult game of the trip
“You can take a step back if you lose and you’re not prepared on the first game because the games are coming so quick. We have a back-to-back against two tough teams so I think the first game would be the toughest one because we have to be dialed in; we have to be focused. If we’re not ready, it could be a long trip.” – Paul George
Their two meetings last season were split, with the road team winning each game. Indiana leads the all-time series 48-29.
- Paul George was born in Palmdale, Calif., attended Fresno State University and grew up a Clippers fan.
- Doc Rivers is one win away from his 600th career win. He will be the third active coach over the 600-win plateau.
- The Clippers have sold out 103 straight games – the sixth-longest active streak in the NBA – dating back to Feb. 2011.
April 1: Last year’s team edged the Clippers 109-106 to sweep a four-game trip out West and pickup their fifth straight victory. The Pacers were up seven after the first quarter and 15 through three quarters. The Clippers had an outstanding final period, scoring 41 points, including 15 at the foul line, but the Pacers held on and returned to Indianapolis with a win.
All five of Indiana’s starters and six players in total finished in double figures, led by 26 points and 10 rebounds from Roy Hibbert before fouling out. Paul George had 23 & 10, and David West finished with 16. Jamal Crawford paced the Clippers with 25 points off the bench and Blake Griffin tallied 17. The Clippers obliterated the Pacers in two statistical categories: points in the paint (53-36) and second chance points (24-11).
Broadcast Information | Find Local Listings »
TV: FOX Sports Indiana - Chris Denari (play-by-play), Quinn Buckner (analyst), Brooke Olzendam (sideline reporter/host)
Radio: FM 107.5 The Fan, Pacers Radio Network - Mark Boyle (play-by-play), Michael Grady (studio host)