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Clippers’ Lou Williams must undergo 10-day quarantine, will miss first two games

Clippers guard Lou Williams shoots over New York Knicks' Frank Ntilikina on Jan. 5 at Staples Center.
Clippers guard Lou Williams shoots over the New York Knicks’ Frank Ntilikina during the first half on Jan. 5 at Staples Center.
(Marcio Jose Sanchez / Associated Press)

Clippers guard Lou Williams will miss the first two games of the NBA restart this week after an announcement Sunday by the league that the high-scoring guard must quarantine for 10 days after being photographed at an Atlanta strip club.

Williams also will forfeit money for the games he misses, according to league rules.

The extended quarantine is a blow to a 15-man Clippers roster that, after being down to 10 players Friday, was inching toward full strength. Starting center Ivica Zubac and reserve guard Landry Shamet both arrived at the NBA’s Walt Disney World resort campus this weekend and could clear quarantine in time to play as early as Monday.

Also, starting guard Patrick Beverley, who departed July 21 for an emergency family matter, returned to Disney World on Sunday and has begun the quarantine process, a person with knowledge of his arrival confirmed.

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The Clippers’ third-leading scorer at 18.7 points per game and a record-tying three-time winner of the NBA’s Sixth Man honor, Williams left the league’s campus at the Disney World resort near Orlando, Fla., after his team’s first scrimmage Wednesday to attend a funeral in Atlanta. Because the league had excused his absence, Williams was preparing to quarantine for only four days upon his return to Disney World.

That plan was complicated Thursday night after rapper Jack Harlow posted a picture of Williams — wearing an NBA-branded mask — at an Atlanta strip club on Instagram. The post was later deleted and Harlow later wrote on Twitter that it “was an old pic of me and Lou. I was just reminiscing cuz I miss him.”

“Ask any of my teammates what’s my favorite restaurant in Atlanta is,” Williams tweeted Friday. “Ain’t nobody partying. Chill out lol #Maskon #inandout”

Clippers guard Lou Williams could face an extended quarantine stay after pictures surface of him at an Atlanta strip club while he was out of the NBA bubble.

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After the picture emerged, the NBA began looking into Williams’ activities while away, according to two people not authorized to speak publicly on the matter. Clippers coach Doc Rivers said Saturday that the team was not pleased.

“He’s back here; I can tell you that much,” Rivers said. “And obviously those got out and that’s something we obviously didn’t enjoy seeing or liked.”

The Clippers play their third and final scrimmage Monday, against Sacramento, and play the first of eight seeding games Thursday against the Lakers. They face New Orleans on Aug. 1.

The Clippers are in second place in the Western Conference standings, 5½ games behind the top-seeded Lakers and 1½ games ahead of third-place Denver. The postseason begins Aug. 17.

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Rivers was hopeful that Zubac and Shamet wouldn’t feel behind once they returned to the court because they had watched the team’s Orlando practices live over videoconference.

“So, I’m hoping you can learn a little bit by watching,” Rivers said.

The Clippers are still without backup center Montrezl Harrell, who departed the NBA bubble July 17 because of an emergency family matter. On Friday, Harrell posted on Instagram that he would be rejoining his team in Orlando soon.

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“We’re all about the next man stepping up,” forward JaMychal Green said Saturday after the Clippers’ 105-100 scrimmage victory against Washington. “We have a deep team, so everybody just got to do their jobs and we’ll be on the same page.”

Short-handed lineups have been the rule, not the exception, for the Clippers this season largely because of injuries that have left the deep roster without contributors for long stretches. It wasn’t until Christmas that the Clippers’ entire roster was available to play for the first time.

When the team arrived in Orlando, after the league’s four-month coronavirus delay, they were optimistic that better luck was ahead. Instead, they’ll be juggling lineups until Williams returns. Rivers called the continued inability to field a complete lineup “a little frustrating.”

“A week before this all started, we had everybody accounted for, and you know, stuff happens,” he said. “So you can’t worry about it.”


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