The Clippers play the defending champion San Antonio Spurs on Monday at 7:30 p.m. at Staples Center.
The Spurs are off to a 2-3 start, their worst five-game start in five years. The Clippers have begun their season in underwhelming fashion too (4-2), after having given up double-digit leads in multiple games and suffering losses to the Kings and the Warriors.
The Spurs are dealing with a slew of injuries. Forward Kawhi Leonard, the reigning Finals MVP, has been fighting conjunctivitis in his right eye. Center Tiago Splitter has been dealing with discomfort in his calf, and is expected to miss Monday’s game. Shooting guard Marco Belinelli has a strained right groin, and point guard Patty Mills has not played this season because he’s recovering from a shoulder surgery.
The Clippers have a shorter injury list. Forward-center Spencer Hawes has been seeing limited minutes because of a strained left foot. Forward-center Glen “Big Baby” Davis, who missed the team’s first five games because of a strained right groin, made his season debut Saturday against Portland, and is getting back into game shape.
All season long, the Clippers have praised the Spurs as the team they look up to, the team they’d eventually like to mimic in terms of both their success and their comfort on the court.
“We’re trying to be a team like that,” Jordan said of the Spurs in October.