Though the stumbling Clippers updated Patrick Beverley’s chance to return Monday night from doubtful to questionable, his teammates seemed certain that the point guard would be back for the game against the Knicks.
After the Clippers lost their eighth consecutive game Saturday night to the Charlotte Hornets, Blake Griffin turned to center DeAndre Jordan inside the team’s quiet locker room and said, “We get Patrick back Monday night and start playing the right way, we will be all right.”
Beverley missed the last five games because of a sore right knee. He told The Times last week that he had to have fluid drained from the knee and that he was feeling much better afterward.
During his absence, and that of starting small forward Danilo Gallinari (left glute injury) and point guard Milos Teodosic (plantar fascia injury to left foot), the Clippers played their guards heavier minutes and started rookie Sindarius Thornwell in the backcourt.
Austin Rivers, who was three-for-14 shooting against the Hornets, admitted that he was tired and was looking forward to Beverley coming back.
“Obviously we get Pat back next game, which is going to help,” Rivers said. “It gets us another guard in there.”
Beverley, Gallinari and Teodosic are all on this trip with the Clippers. Beverley did some shooting drills and had challenged one of his coaches to a game of one-on-one before the game in Charlotte.
Beverley was averaging 12.5 points in the 10 games he played.
Rivers suggested that the shorthanded Clippers may have been stretched to the limits in the fourth quarter of their loss to the Hornets.
The Clippers trailed just 84-83 with 5 minutes, 15 seconds left, but they were outscored 18-4 the rest of the way and never looked sharp.
“Guys are just tired, man,” Rivers said. “I’ve never been that tired. I don’t know what happened. Maybe it’s because I’ve been sick. I don’t know what it was. I’m not making excuses.”
Rivers missed five of his six three-pointers. He had nine points and a minus-16 in the plus/minus department.
“That was probably one of the worst games for me,” Rivers said. “I just had nothing. I had no energy. I tried in the second half, but I was dead. I was dead tired, for whatever reason. I don’t know. We’ve just got to continue to fight through.”
And that has been the same old song from the Clippers during this losing streak.
They are one loss shy of the team’s longest losing streak since the 2010-11 season, when that Clippers team lost nine consecutive games from Nov. 5-20.
“It’s just going to be the same answer as it was before,” said Lou Williams, who led the Clippers with 25 points against Charlotte. “Got injuries, guys are down, just keep fighting. I ain’t going to change my narrative.”
AT NEW YORK
When: 4:30 p.m. PST
On the air: TV: Prime Ticket; Radio: 570, 1330.
Update: The Clippers have beat Knicks the last 10 consecutive times the two teams have played, making that L.A.’s longest active winning streak against any single opponent. New York still has a bona fide star in Kristaps Porzingis, who is averaging 27.8 points per game, fourth-best in the NBA.