Game Preview: Clippers begin three-game road trip in Chicago
LA and Chicago faced off for the first time this season on Feb. 3 at STAPLES Center. The Clippers won that matchup, 113-103.
Here’s what to look out for in Tuesday’s game:
From then to now –
The first time the Clippers and Bulls met, it was the debut of LA’s newest acquisitions, forward Tobias Harris and guard Avery Bradley. Center Boban Marjanovic did not play.
Harris put on a show in his inaugural game in LA – scoring 24 points – and he hasn’t stopped since. He has scored 20+ in nine of his 15 games as a Clipper and he is averaging 19.9 points, 7.2 rebounds and 1.4 steals since arriving in LA.
Harris is also shooting 48 percent from the field, 41 percent from three, and 80 percent from the line over the last 15 games. Over the last four games, he is averaging 24.3 points and 8.8 rebounds, while shooting 51 percent from the field.
In his Clippers debut, Bradley scored 8 points, and in his first six games in LA, he had already established himself as a dominant defensive presence on the perimeter. However, a sports hernia injury has sidelined Bradley for the past nine games.
Marjanovic, since his arrival, has served as a spark plug on the bench, on the court, and among the Clippers fan base. His minutes have been sparse, but his effect has been notable.
The 7-foot-3 Serbian put together his best performance of the season on Feb. 27, when he scored 18 points in 15 minutes to help lift the Clippers over the Nuggets in Denver. Since then, Marjanovic has earned minutes in the team’s rotation and has earned a spot in the fans’ hearts.
The going will get tough –
The Clippers just finished a six-game homestand with a record of 4-2, collecting wins over New York, Brooklyn, Cleveland and Orlando, and suffering losses to Houston and New Orleans.
Now, on to the hard part.
If the Clippers are to make the playoffs this season, they will have earned it. After Tuesday’s game in Chicago, LA’s next eight games will be against playoff opponents. Then, the Clippers will play the Phoenix Suns on March 28, before closing the regular season with games against six straight playoff contenders and the Lakers on April 11.
In addition, eight of those 14 matchups against potential playoff teams will take place on the road, beginning in Houston on Thursday, followed by a matchup with the Thunder in OKC on Friday.
LA is 2-1 against the Rockets this season and 0-2 against the Thunder. As of Tuesday, Houston is the top seed in the West and the Thunder are the fourth seed. The Clippers are the seventh seed.
Upon returning from OKC, LA will host the West’s current third-seed, the Portland Trail Blazers, on Sunday.
Tuesday’s game will tip-off at 5 p.m. PDT.