Gameday Report: New Clippers trio to make debut against Chicago
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The Clippers (25-25) will take on the Chicago Bulls (18-33) on Saturday for the first time this season.
Here’s what to look out for in Saturday’s matchup.
Debut of new Clippers
The Clippers’ starting five on Saturday, presumably, will feature a few fresh faces.
On Monday, L.A. made a blockbuster swap with Detroit, sending forward Blake Griffin, center Willie Reed and forward Brice Johnson to the Pistons in exchange for forward Tobias Harris, guard Avery Bradley and center Boban Marjanovic, as well as a few draft picks.
Harris and Bradley are both expected to start on Saturday, while Marjanovic is expected to come off the bench, and Clippers fans will get their first taste of the talented new trio.
In 48 games this season with the Pistons, Harris, 25, averaged 18.1 points on 45 percent shooting from the field and 40 percent shooting from three. He also shot 85 percent from the line. Bradley, 27, suited up in 40 games for Detroit and averaged 15.0 points and 1.2 steals in those games. Marjanovic, 29, contributed 6.2 points and 3.0 rebounds in 19 appearances.
Turning point for L.A.
For the past few weeks, the Clippers have been in a tight battle for the final spots in the Western Conference playoff race. With 32 games left to go, it’s now or never for L.A.
The Clippers will enter Saturday in the ninth spot in the West, one game behind Denver for the eighth spot. They also sit two and a half games behind New Orleans for the seventh spot.
Monday’s trade is sure to shake things up for the future of the franchise, considering the Clippers not only acquired young talent, but much-needed cap space and draft picks. Still, the L.A. front office, coaches and players are all adamant that they are looking to remain competitive this season and earn a playoff spot.
If they are to do so, coach Doc Rivers admits that the team will need to create cohesion with their new additions as quickly as possible.
“This team has not changed its goals about the playoffs,” Rivers said. “That’s our goal.”
Of the team’s next 32 games, 17 will be on the road at 15 will take place at STAPLES Center. In addition, the Clippers still have seven back-to-backs to play over the next two months – including three this month – and four of those will take place on the road.
A Tale of Two Teams
While the Clippers have won eight of their last 12, the Bulls have been the opposite, losing eight of their last 12, including five straight and six of their last seven.
However, if the two teams do have something in common, it’s roster shake-ups that happened this week.
On Thursday, the Bulls shipped forward Nikola Mirotic to the New Orleans Pelicans, in exchange for center Omer Asik and guards Tony Allen and Jameer Nelson.
Mirotic was averaging 16.8 points and 6.4 rebounds in 25 appearances for the Bulls this season.
Saturday’s game will tip-off at 12:30 p.m. PST.