Gameday Report: Clippers host Dallas before upcoming East coast swing
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The Clippers (26-25) will take on the Dallas Mavericks (17-36) on Monday for the third time this season. So far, the season series is tied, 1-1.
Here’s what to look out for in Monday’s matchup:
The Clippers are secretly hot –
Don’t look now, but the Clippers are hot…or at least very warm. And no one seems to be taking note.
L.A. has won nine of its last 13 games, tied for the second-best record in the NBA in that time span. The Clippers have won three of their last four, and five of their last six on the road.
In that time span, the Clippers rank sixth in the NBA in field goal percentage (.483) and are second in points per game (112.7) as of Sunday.
On Saturday, the Clippers’ latest additions, forward Tobias Harris, guard Avery Bradley and center Boban Marjanovic made their debuts on the team’s active roster. And while only Harris and Bradley saw action, the two seemed to fit in seamlessly.
Harris scored 24 points, tied for a team-high with forward Danilo Gallinari. Bradley had a rough shooting night and contributed 8 points, but his defense was exactly what the Clippers expected it to be. He hounded Chicago guard Zach LaVine for a majority of the day. LaVine finished with 21 points, but shot 6-for-18 from the floor.
L.A. will host Dallas on Monday and the Mavs have lost eight of their last 10. The two teams have split the season series so far, with each squad winning on its home floor.
A deep bench just got deeper –
With the acquisition of Harris, Bradley and Marjanovic, the Clippers won’t be having any depth issues for the foreseeable future.
Nine players saw court time for L.A. on Saturday: Harris, Bradley, Gallinari, DeAndre Jordan and Milos Teodosic were the starters. Montrezl Harrell, Lou Williams, Wesley Johnson and Tyrone Wallace all saw minutes off the bench.
Forward Sam Dekker, who averages 14.5 minutes per game, and guard Sindarius Thornwell, who averages 13.3 minutes per game, didn’t take the floor on Saturday. Neither did the newly-acquired Marjanovic, who averaged 9.0 minutes with Detroit.
In addition, guards Austin Rivers, Patrick Beverley and Jawun Evans sat out with injuries.
To put it plainly, the Clippers, when healthy, have 15 players they can rely on. L.A. is already one of six teams in the NBA to average at least 41 points per game off the bench, and on Saturday, the Clippers’ bench put up 46 points.
Mavs must adjust…again –
When the Clippers and Mavericks took the floor on Nov. 1, L.A. put together a comprehensive effort en route to a 119-98 win. Five players scored in double-figures, including forwards Blake Griffin and Danilo Gallinari, and guard Patrick Beverley.
The teams once again faced off on Dec. 2, with Dallas winning, 108-82, but the Clippers weren’t the same. Griffin, Beverley and Gallinari were all injured and didn’t play.
Now, for the third time this season, Dallas will take on a Clippers roster that doesn’t resemble the one it last faced. While Gallinari is back, Rivers and Beverley remain sidelined, and Griffin is now in Detroit. The Mavericks will have to adjust on the fly in game-planning for the newly-acquired Harris and Bradley.
Monday’s game will tip-off at 7:30 p.m. PST.