It’s still early in the season; the Los Angeles Clippers have only played 22 games (they have 60 more games to play), but the Clippers are looking like serious championship contenders. The addition of Kawhi Leonard and Paul George in the off-season has elevated this team to new heights. They have beaten good teams at home and on the road and they have only one 2-game losing streak so far and both of those games were on the road.
Leonard and George joined a team that was already very good. In last season’s playoffs, the Clippers took the Golden State Warriors to six games before losing the series at home. Looking at this team, it has five players who can score and dominate defensively: Leonard, George, Lou Williams, Montrezl Harrell and Patrick Beverley. Putting in the minutes and contributing to the winning record are Maurice Harkless, Landry Shamet and Ivica Zubac.
Before their game with the Washington Wizards on December 1, Clippers head coach Doc Rivers said, “I know we’re going to be good, just look at our guys. But we’re 20 games into a basketball season. As a staff and as a team we know we have a long way to go, that we’re going to get a lot better.”
Getting a lot better means winning a game in the Cream City. The Milwaukee Bucks have a record of 19-3 and lead the Eastern Conference. They are coming into tonight’s game with a 13-game winning streak. They are not losing games.
Milwaukee is led by the Greek Freak, Giannis Antetokounmpo, who is averaging 31 points and 13 rebounds per game. He will be tough enough to guard, but his teammates include Eric Bledsoe, George Hill and Khris Middleton, who is averaging over .17 points and five rebounds per game. Any team would have to play an almost mistake-free game to beat the Bucks right now.
If the Lakers are the best team in the west and the Bucks are the best in the east, a win in Milwaukee would be a big deal for the Clippers. They started the season with a win over the Lakers and while that is not a measure of where the Lakers are now, it’s an indication of what the Clippers can do. And they won that game against the Lakers without Paul George.
Tonight the Clippers will have both Paul George and Kawhi Leonard on the floor. JaMychal Green has been out but could play tonight. Landry Shamet is out. Everyone else is ready to play. The Bucks have only one player out: Sterling Brown.
Tonight’s game will be a great match up between two of the very best teams in the league. It will be broadcast on Fox Sports.
Below are Claudia Gestro’s recent video reports about the Clippers.
Photos by Claudia Gestro
Top photo: Kawhi Leonard
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