Game Preview: Clippers vs. Hawks

Game Preview: Despite injuries, Clippers aim to regain winning momentum against Atlanta

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If the Clippers are to put an end to their two-game skid, they’ll have to do it without a few starters.

But that’s nothing new for L.A.

The Clippers (17-21) will host the Atlanta Hawks (10-28) in the two teams’ second matchup of the season, but this time, L.A. will take the court with a significantly different lineup.

Clippers forward Blake Griffin – who tallied 26 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists in a 116-103 win in Atlanta on Nov. 22 – will be out of the lineup on Monday after suffering a concussion in Saturday’s game against the Warriors.

Two games after posting that triple-double in Atlanta in late November, Griffin sprained his left MCL against the Lakers on Nov. 27 and missed the next 14 games, before returning in full force at the end of December. In his four full games after returning from that injury, he averaged 23.5 points, 7.0 rebounds, and 6.7 assists in 33.3 minutes per game.

The Clippers will also take the court on Monday without starting guard Austin Rivers, who is out with a right ankle injury. Rivers scored 18 points against Atlanta in the two teams’ first matchup. In addition, Clippers forward Danilo Gallinari is out with a left glute injury, and rookie guard Milos Teodosic is listed as questionable with a sore plantar fasciitis.

Still, despite battling injuries, L.A. is 6-3 in its last nine games and has won six of its last eight home games. In addition, over their last nine, the Clippers’ offense has averaged 114.7 points per game, led by guard Lou Williams, who has averaged 28.0 points in that span.

Alongside Williams is Clippers center DeAndre Jordan, the NBA’s leading rebounder who has averaged 19.0 points and 13.0 rebounds over his last three games, and has posted a double-double in 12 of his last 14 games.

“Overall, I just want fighters right now,” said Clippers coach Doc Rivers on Saturday. “And that’s what we’re going to have to have.”

After Saturday’s loss to the Warriors, the Clippers currently trail the New Orleans Pelicans by two games for the eighth playoff spot in the Western Conference. However, the Hawks currently own the league’s worst record and L.A. has defeated Atlanta in four of their last five matchups, including three straight.

Monday’s game will tip-off at 7:30 p.m.

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