Newsletter: Clippers! Team faces a tough schedule over the next week
Hi, my name is Broderick Turner, and welcome back to the Los Angeles Times’ Clippers newsletter.
The Clippers face a tough task out of the gate after the All-Star break as three of the next four teams they face are playoff teams.
They will first see the defending NBA champion Golden State Warriors on Thursday night in Oakland. The Warriors have the second-best record in the NBA at 44-14. Then the Clippers travel to Denver to face the Nuggets on Tuesday night. The Nuggets are the sixth-seeded team in the Western Conference, just one game ahead of the Clippers.
After that game, the Clippers return home to play the Houston Rockets on Wednesday night in a back-to-back game. The Rockets have the best record in the league at 44-13. The Clippers have defeated the Rockets twice this season.
“Those are playoff teams and those are the teams that you might get once you’re in the playoffs,” Clippers forward Danilo Gallinari said. “So those are games that we need to win. It’s a great challenge for us. It’s going to be a great challenge to play against them.”
With just 26 regular-season games left, the Clippers are making their playoff push right now.
They currently are standing on the outside of the playoffs, but are just a half a game behind the eighth-seeded New Orleans Pelicans.
“We’ve won five of six,” coach Doc Rivers said. “We play well. We’re a good team and we deserve to be in this position because we put ourselves in this position. Now we have to take advantage of it.”
For the most part, the Clippers have come through their rash of injuries.
The trade deadline and the angst it brought is behind them.
The All-Star weekend is over now.
So maybe now the sense is it’s time for the Clippers to let all that go and just go play.
“To me, it’s go from the first game of the season,” Gallinari said. “You can’t take any time off. Every game counts. If you think about all the games that we played our first half of the season, we lost too many games. We went on a nine-game losing streak. When you do that, it’s tough to keep up with the other teams that are winning. Even with that losing streak, even all the games that we lost, we’re still here.”
Two of the main cogs for the Clippers, forward Tobias Harris and guard Avery Bradley, have played in just six games since they were acquired from the Detroit Pistons last month.
So in many ways, the Clippers are still getting to know each other.
“This is a huge part of the season where we have to push through,” Harris said. “Obviously we’re a new team together, but we got to really build our chemistry even faster now, stick with everything that we’ve been doing and let it flow for us. We have a tough schedule ahead. I believe it’ll give us a lot of confidence if we go on these road games and win.”
In case you missed it
Clippers return from All-Star break with playoff spot in sight
New details of Clippers proposed Inglewood arena revealed
(All times Pacific)
Tonight at Golden State, 7:30 p.m., TNT
Friday at Phoenix, 6 p.m.
Tuesday at Denver, 7:30 p.m., TNT
Wednesday vs. Houston, 7:30 p.m.
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