Gameday Report: Clippers head to Philly, looking for fourth straight win
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The Clippers will take on the Philadelphia 76ers for the second time this season on Saturday, in the second game of back-to-backs for both teams.
Here’s what to look out for in Saturday’s matchup:
Clipping on all cylinders –
Or, clicking on all cylinders. However you prefer to say it.
Despite the overarching theme of Friday’s game, which was the Clippers facing off with Blake Griffin in a Pistons uniform for the first time, there was another big storyline in Clipperland, and that was the return of guard Austin Rivers, who missed 18 consecutive games with a right ankle injury.
But with the way he played, you would think Rivers hadn’t missed a minute.
Rivers put up 16 points on 7-for-13 shooting in 32 minutes, picking up right where he left off. Rivers is in the midst of the best season of his career, averaging career-highs in several categories, including points (15.8) and assists (3.6).
Remarkably, as impressive as the Clippers’ 108-95 win in Detroit might have been, they still weren’t at full strength. While Rivers returned to the lineup, point guard Milos Teodosic missed Friday’s game with a sore right foot.
Clipper fans will be anxious to see if Teodosic will be available on Saturday, which would put L.A. at full strength, minus guard Patrick Beverley, who is out for the season.
The options are limitless –
If one thing became obvious in Friday’s matchup, it’s that the Clippers have one of the deepest rosters in the NBA.
Clippers reserve guard Lou Williams, two days after signing a multi-year extension with the team, poured in a game-high 26 points on 7-for-12 shooting, including 4-for-6 from three, in 31 minutes.
26p/4r/6a/2s | Since Jan. 1, @TeamLou23 has scored the second-most points in the NBA, trailing only Russell Westbrook.— LA Clippers (@LAClippers) February 10, 2018
Fellow reserve, forward Montrezl Harrell, scored 18 points in 19 minutes off the bench, and the Clippers bench outscored the Detroit bench, 50-20.
In all, six Clippers players scored in double figures, including forward Tobias Harris (12) and guard Avery Bradley (10), both of whom were facing off with their former team. Danilo Gallinari added 16.
It wasn’t a particularly strong shooting night for Harris, Bradley and Gallinari, who shot a combined 15-for-38 from the field. Clippers center DeAndre Jordan also shot 2-for-7 from the field and finished with only 4 points.
Still, the Clippers’ depth was able to make up for any shortcomings in the scoring department.
The Simmons/Embiid/Covington Factor –
In the season’s first matchup between the Clippers and Sixers on Nov. 13 at STAPLES Center, it quickly turned into a good night for Philadelphia’s young stars.
A very good night.
Guard Ben Simmons, center Joel Embiid and forward Robert Covington combined to score 85 points on 63 percent shooting from the field. Embiid poured in 32 points to go along with 16 rebounds, while Simmons scored 22 points and added 12 rebounds.
Covington shot 5-for-8 from three and finished with a season-high 31 points.
Only one other Sixers player scored in double-figures in that night: former Clipper J.J. Redick, who finished with 10.
If L.A. hopes to knock off the Sixers on their home floor, they’ll have to slow Philadelphia’s core of young talent.