When the Clippers acquired Wilson Chandler from Philadelphia as a part of the Tobias Harris trade in February, he already had sat out two games with the 76ers because of a strained right quadriceps and wound up missing 12 more after arriving in L.A.
The 6-foot-9 forward has played nine games with the Clippers since he recovered from his ailment, and his best performance came Thursday night against the Milwaukee Bucks. He caught fire in the fourth quarter, scoring all 15 of his points by making all five of his three-pointers.
Chandler did his damage while playing power forward. But it has been hard for him to get playing time at that position because Danilo Gallinari is the starter and JaMychal Green is the backup.
“I’m more comfortable at the four,” Chandler said Thursday night. “Most of my career I’ve always played the four. But right now we’ve got Gallo at the four so it’s just a matter of fitting in.”
Chandler was five-for-seven from the field against the Bucks, matching the number of field goals he’d made in his first seven games with the Clippers. His five three-pointers more than doubled his total with the team, and he’d missed his last 13 attempts before catching fire in the fourth quarter.
“I was just playing free and not worrying about makes or misses,” Chandler said. “Not worried about fitting on the team. Just going out and playing.”
Once Chandler got in a groove, coach Doc Rivers came away impressed.
“That’s the first time he’s been able to play at the four and you can see what he can do there,” Rivers said. “So that was good for us to see as well.”
Chandler had to get his body right before he could help the Clippers. Once that happened, his playing time was limited to 12.6 minutes per game and it slowed his progress.
“My biggest focus is that we’ve been winning,” Chandler said. “I think my biggest focus, individually, is just finding a rhythm.
“Yeah, it’s tough. Anytime you go out with an injury, a muscle injury, you got to come back and get your wind first and then you got to get your wind after that.”
Though the Clippers clinched a playoff spot, they plan on playing to their maximum potential in the final six regular-season games.
They think if they can keep their momentum going, it might be possible to get home-court advantage in the first round.
“Just keep playing,” Rivers said. “We’re still in it. Like, nothing’s changed. We’re in the playoffs, but nothing’s changed as far as seeding, so we have to get back on the train and start winning games again.”
The Clippers, who have won six of their last seven games and 11 of 13, are sixth in the standings, one game behind Utah and one ahead of Oklahoma City and San Antonio, and just three games behind No. 4 Houston and 3½ behind No. 3 Portland.
“It’s been fun,” rookie point guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander said. “Proving doubters wrong has always been fun to me in my life, and this team did so and it’s a great feeling.”
When: 12:30 p.m., Saturday.
On the air: TV: Prime Ticket; Radio: 570, 1330.