The Clippers have entered the danger zone and are searching for ways to escape while starting a four-game trip.
They are seeking to break a season-high five-game losing streak during a stretch that starts Sunday night against a San Antonio Spurs team that is 7-3 in its last 10 games.
The Clippers are unsure whether they will have two of their primary weapons against the Spurs.
The team listed Danilo Gallinari as doubtful for the game because of lower back spasms and sixth-man extraordinaire Lou Williams as questionable because of a sore right hamstring. Williams sat out the Clippers’ loss to Golden State on Friday while Gallinari exited the game after eight minutes.
The Clippers are seeking to get right in an ultra-competitive Western Conference that can send a team plunging a few spots with just one loss.
All of this presents the Clippers with a big challenge.
They lost to the NBA champion Warriors on Friday night, but the Clippers feel they found a positive from how they played defense and stuck to the game plan despite a depleted roster.
“I think that’s something that we can take as a positive from this game,” Tobias Harris said late Friday night. “I thought that we were locked into the game plan. Besides the turnovers, I think we can take that on the road and try to collect some wins and get this thing back right.”
A large offensive burden has fallen on the shoulders of Harris, who leads the team in scoring (20.9) and rebounding (8.0).
Harris has been able to rely on Gallinari, who is second on the team in scoring (19.0) and third in rebounding (6.0), and Williams, who is third on the team in scoring (18.7) and first in assists (4.9), for help.
“Gallo presents a big threat for us, especially on the offensive end by spacing the floor and creating his own shots,” Harris said. “So, it was tough for us to be out there without him.”
Rookie point guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander tied his career high with 24 points and made a career-high 10 free throws against the Warriors. He’ll be counted on against the Spurs.
Reserve center Montrezl Harrell, who is fourth in the NBA in scoring off the bench (15.7), will be needed to continue his production against the Spurs.
Harris knows it is going to take the entire group for the Clippers to be successful.
“It’s next man up,” Harris said. “Just be ready and let’s just keep going and we need other guys to pick up the load and just be ready to play. That’s our mentality and we’ll be ready for it.”
AT SAN ANTONIO
When: 4 p.m., Sunday.
On the air: TV: Prime Ticket; Radio: 570, 1330.
Update: The Spurs are the best three-point shooting team in the NBA, making 40.4% of their attempts. They take care of the basketball, turning it over only 12.2 times per game, also the best in the league. They make 47.9% of their shots from the field, fifth in the league.