Week ahead for Clippers: Date looming with healthy LeBron James?
The week ahead
The Clippers will have a couple of days to think about Hassan Whiteside and whatever that was that happened against the Heat to close out their nine-game homestand on Sunday. The team returns to action on Wednesday in Portland before returning home to face the Cleveland Cavaliers and, maybe, LeBron James on Friday. Entering Monday, James has missed the last eight games with knee and back injuries. According to reports, he could be back in the Cavs lineup on Tuesday. After facing Cleveland, the Clippers will conclude the week with a back-to-back on Saturday in Sacramento.
The week behind
The homestand concluded with the Clippers going 6-3. As Chris Paul put it, the Clippers "were hoping to be a lot better." The Clippers weren’t expecting to lose to the Heat — a team that entered Sunday’s matinee as losers of five of six. All told, the Clippers ended up with a split for the week and bookend losses. Last Monday, it was a 107-98 loss to the Hawks. The Clippers bounced back to torch the Lakers and Mavericks by a combined 45 points before Sunday’s disappointing loss to Miami in the homestand finale.
Record and standings
Entering Monday, the Clippers are 25-13 on the season and remain in second place in the Pacific Division, but are now a full six games behind the first place Golden State Warriors. In the Western Conference standings, the Clippers are sitting in sixth place.
Less than a year into his regime, Steve Ballmer has brought an enthusiasm to the Clippers that’s never been seen. His dance to Fergie’s "LA Love" during the team’s 114-89 win over the Lakers, however, will go down as one of his greatest hits.
As a unit, the Clippers did a poor job of locating Hassan Whiteside allowing him to have a career night. The 3.0 points and 3.2 rebounds per game player for his career torched the Clippers for career highs of 23 points and 16 rebounds. Whiteside became the first Heat player to have 20 and 15 off the bench since Alonzo Mourning did it 14 years ago.
Player to watch
Matt Barnes has reached double figures in three of the last four games. He’s averaging 14.3 points per game in that span while shooting 51.4 percent from the field and 50 percent from beyond the arc.
Stat to watch
The Clippers will be on the road for the first time in 2015. They closed 2014 losers of five in a row away from Staples Center.