Gameday Report: Clippers host Nets in third game of home stand
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The Clippers (33-28) will host the Brooklyn Nets (20-43) on Sunday, a team that LA defeated on Feb. 12 in Brooklyn, 114-101. LA will be looking for its ninth win in the last 12 games.
Here’s what to look out for in Sunday’s matchup:
Wins vs. must-wins –
The Clippers need wins to keep pace in the Western Conference playoff race. They trail Denver by one game for the final playoff spot, and trail New Orleans, San Antonio and Oklahoma City by two games for the fifth, 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.
LA immediately bounced back with a 128-105 win over New York on Friday, and now it’s on to Brooklyn, a team that has won two of its last 16 games and is 1-10 in its last 11.
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 New Orleans on Tuesday, Cleveland on Friday and Orlando on 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, including against the struggling Nets.
Riding the pine –
The Clippers, as a team, have been riding the pine all the way to victories.
LA is averaging a whopping 51.8 points per game off the bench over the last six games, second to only Boston (52.8). However, Boston’s bench has played 152 more minutes in the last six games and has only scored six more points total than the LA bench (317-311).
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 11, reserve guard Lou Williams has averaged 21.7 points and 6.3 assists. Reserve forward Montrezl Harrell has averaged 13.7 points on 69.5 percent shooting in only 18.1 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.
Sunday’s matchup will tip at 6 p.m.