Game Preview: Clippers, Celtics both looking to halt recent skids
Wednesday, two teams from opposite coasts will take the court, both looking to get back on the same winning path.
The Clippers (23-23) will play host to the Eastern Conference’s top team, the Boston Celtics (34-14), on Wednesday at STAPLES Center. After winning six straight games, their longest win streak of the season, the Clippers have dropped their last two.
L.A. will look to get back on track against a Celtics team that has lost its last four, coming off a seven-game win streak of its own.
Despite the Clippers’ latest setback – a 126-118 loss to Minnesota on Monday – forward Blake Griffin put together one of his best all-around performances of the season. Griffin notched his second triple-double of the season, posting 32 points, 12 rebounds and a career-high 12 assists, which is also a team season-high for L.A.
32p/12r/12a/1s | @blakegriffin32 records his second triple-double of the season and dishes out a career-high 12 assists.— LA Clippers (@LAClippers) January 23, 2018
Clippers guard Lou Williams scored 20 off the bench in Monday’s loss, which marks his ninth consecutive game scoring 20+ points as a reserve. That is the longest streak among all active players in the NBA and tied for the third longest streak since 1983-84.
However, it was defense that led to the Clippers’ latest defeat. Minnesota’s 126-point outing is tied for the third most points the Clippers have given up to an opponent this season. The Wolves also went 33-for-39 from the free throw line, the most points L.A. has given up at the charity stripe this year as well.
The Clippers are now ninth in the Western Conference standings, a half-game behind Denver for the eighth spot and 1.5 games behind Portland for the seventh spot. L.A. defeated the Nuggets last Wednesday, 109-104, and will host Portland next Tuesday.
L.A. is also sitting two games behind New Orleans for the sixth spot and will travel to take on the Pelicans on Sunday.
The Clippers are eagerly anticipating the return of center DeAndre Jordan, who has missed the team’s last five games with a sprained left ankle. On the season, Jordan is averaging 11.8 points and 14.9 rebounds, but moreover, he is the anchor of the team’s defense.
Jordan is listed as doubtful for Wednesday’s game. In addition, rookie guard Jawun Evans will miss his second straight game with a sore lower abdominal.
The Celtics will come into Wednesday’s contest one night after falling to the Lakers, 108-107. Boston’s current four-game losing streak includes home losses to New Orleans, Philadelphia and Orlando, in addition to Tuesday’s loss to the Lakers.
Wednesday’s game will tip-off at 7:30 p.m.