Gameday Report: Clippers look to regain winning momentum in Brooklyn
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The Clippers (28-26) will travel to Brooklyn to take on the Nets (19-38) on Monday, in the first matchup of the season between the two teams.
Here’s what to watch for in Monday’s matchup:
Now or never for L.A. –
From this point forward, each one of the 28 games remaining counts for L.A.
The Clippers are in a fierce battle with New Orleans, Denver, Portland and Oklahoma City for the final four spots in the Western Conference playoffs. Each team’s result on a nightly basis will heavily influence the standings.
For instance, L.A. entered Saturday’s matchup with Philadelphia as the seventh seed in the Western Conference, having defeated Detroit on Friday night, 108-95, for their third straight victory. Denver sat in eighth and New Orleans sat in the ninth spot.
However, the Clippers fell to the Sixers on Saturday, 112-98. The Nuggets beat Phoenix and the Pelicans defeated Brooklyn in overtime. Denver moved up a spot to the seventh seed, New Orleans stepped into the eighth spot, and the Clippers slid into ninth.
On Monday, L.A. will take on a Brooklyn team that has lost five straight and nine of its last 10, in what could be considered a must-win for the Clippers, as the schedule doesn’t get any easier moving forward.
On Wednesday, the Clippers will travel to take on Boston, currently the second seed in the Eastern Conference. On Feb. 22, L.A. will travel to take on Golden State, and L.A. has remaining matchups with Houston (twice), Oklahoma City, San Antonio, Cleveland, Toronto, and Portland (twice) to name a few.
A clean bill of health –
The Clippers are hoping that in the upcoming games, they can finally see what a healthy roster might look like.
Guard Austin Rivers returned to the lineup on Friday in Detroit, after missing 18 games with a right ankle injury. In two games since his return, he is averaging 13.0 points, 5.0 assists and 4.0 rebounds.
However, with Rivers’ return, the Clippers saw the exit of rookie guard Milos Teodosic, who has missed the last two games with a sore right foot.
Still, even without Teodosic, the Clippers have played 10 players in each of the past two games, putting the team’s depth on full display. But Teodosic’s value cannot be understated, as the Clippers are 17-8 when he plays and 9-2 when he scores in double-figures.
If Teodosic is able to return this week, the Clippers can presumably operate with a mostly healthy roster over the final two months of the season. Guard Jawun Evans (abdominal) still remains sidelined, but could return soon, bolstering the Clippers’ bench even more.
Monday’s game will tip-off at 4:30 p.m. PST.