Gameday Report: Clippers host Knicks, Nets in must-win games
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The Clippers’ next five games will take place on their home floor, beginning Friday, when LA (32-28) hosts the New York Knicks (24-38) at STAPLES Center. The two teams have faced off once this season, back on Nov. 20 at Madison Square Garden. The Knicks defeated the Clippers, 107-85.
The Clippers will then host the Brooklyn Nets (20-43) on Sunday, a team that LA defeated on Feb. 12 in Brooklyn, 114-101.
This Friday March 2nd is #DTLAC Night the Knicks! @PROBLEM354 will take center court for a special halftime performance.— LA Clippers (@LAClippers) March 1, 2018
Grab your tickets: https://t.co/MfwuvCD9LV
More info: https://t.co/raXdqOyfmd
Presented by @AguaCalienteCRS pic.twitter.com/e7m8JjBSKN
Here’s what to look out for in Friday and Sunday’s matchups:
Wins vs. must-wins –
The Clippers need wins to keep pace in the Western Conference playoff race. They trail Denver by a half-game for the final playoff spot, and trail New Orleans and Oklahoma City by 2.5 games for the sixth and seventh spots, respectively.
After a crucial win in Denver on Tuesday, securing the season series against the Nuggets, the Clippers’ Wednesday loss to Houston – the NBA’s best team – wasn’t so bad.
But what would be bad are losses to either New York on Friday or Brooklyn on Sunday, as both represent must-win games for LA.
For starters, the Knicks are 1-10 in their last 11 games and 1-6 since losing superstar center Kristaps Porzingis to an ACL tear. Brooklyn has won two of its last 16 games and is 1-10 in its last 11.
Secondly, the rest of the Clippers’ schedule is difficult. After facing New York and Brooklyn, LA will have 20 games left on its regular season schedule, 15 of which are against current playoff teams.
LA will play its next five games at home, beginning with New York and Brooklyn this weekend, followed by New Orleans on Tuesday, Cleveland next Friday and Orlando next Saturday. Then, the Clippers will take off on a three-game road trip to face Chicago, Houston and Oklahoma City.
Plainly put, LA needs to win every game its “supposed” to win, beginning with the struggling Knicks and Nets.
Riding the pine –
The Clippers, as a team, have been riding the pine all the way to victories.
In the month of February, the Clippers won seven of their 10 games. In those 10 games, they averaged 46.0 points off the bench per game, fourth best in the NBA for the month, behind Toronto (49.7), San Antonio (49.5) and Cleveland (47.1). Those are the only four teams to average over 45 points off the bench per game in February.
In addition, in the month of February, the Clippers’ outscored the opposing bench by an average of 14 points per game. They outscored Denver’s bench by 50 on Tuesday.
Over the last 10, reserve guard Lou Williams has averaged 21.8 points and 6.1 assists in 32.9 minutes. Reserve forward Montrezl Harrell has averaged 13.2 points on 67.4 percent shooting in only 18.2 minutes.
The Clippers will need to continue their strong bench play behind Williams and Harrell during their upcoming home stand, with hopes of going into their next road trip on a substantial win streak.
Friday’s game will tip-off at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday’s matchup will tip at 6 p.m.