If the playoffs were to begin today, the LA Clippers would occupy the eighth and final spot in a difficult Western Conference.
The road to the finish line will not be easy, however, and the litmus test begins on Friday night. The Clippers will host LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in a nationally-televised game. Tip-off is slated for 7:30 p.m. at Staples Center, and the contest will be aired on ESPN.
Of the 13 opponents the Clippers face in March, 10 are in line for the playoffs. The Clippers have beaten some of the league’s best teams throughout the year, and they’ll need that competitive spirit going forward.
Head coach Doc Rivers is also expected to be without two starters, as Danilo Gallinari and Avery Bradley continue to miss time with injuries.
“We have what we have,” Rivers told the LA Times. “It's a tough stretch to have guys out, for sure, there's no doubt about that. It makes your bench so thin. But, we’ve just got to find a way to win a game anyway.”
The injuries mean extended minutes for the starters. Tobias Harris will play a key role in March, as he will be tasked with guarding the other team’s best perimeter scorer on most nights. Montrezl Harrell and Lou Williams are the only two players likely to see significant time off the bench.
Harris will match up with James, who recently said that he’s playing at “probably an all-time high.”
Williams remains optimistic about the team’s outlook.
“It's one at a time," he said after a loss to the New Orleans Pelicans. "We're still playing good basketball. It's not the end of the world that we lost tonight (to New Orleans). … We've just got to move forward and play one game at a time."
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