While the 2019-2020 NBA Finals were happening exactly one-year ago today, the league is already set to begin the 2021-22 season. After the 2020 season ended in a bubble, and the 2021 season started in December without fans, the NBA is finally back on track to complete their usual October-June schedule.
For the LA Clippers, their journey begins Monday evening against the Denver Nuggets. The NBA pre-season began on Sunday afternoon with a matchup between the Brooklyn Nets and Los Angeles Lakers, but the Clippers will open pre-season play tonight.
The Clippers and Nuggets will tip-off in Staples Center at 7:30 PM PST. Neither team will be anywhere close to fully-loaded; however, it is the first live action outside of the Summer League in a few months. For the Clippers, tonight's game is the first of four pre-season games, and for the Nuggets, it is their first of five total exhibitions.
The Clippers will be without several players, including Paul George, Nicolas Batum, and Marcus Morris, who are all resting. This trio will join Kawhi Leonard, Serge Ibaka, and Jason Preston on the sidelines who are all dealing with injuries.
The Denver Nuggets will be without league MVP Nikola Jokic who has just recently joined the team after the birth of his daughter, along with Jamal Murray and Will Barton who are sidelined with injuries. With several players out, both the Nuggets and Clippers will have the opportunity to boast their youth.
The Clippers will feature rookies Brandon Boston Jr. and Keon Johnson, while the Nuggets will trot out their exciting first-round pick Bones Hyland. Each team will likely play their available veterans for parts of the first half while allowing their youth to finish the game.
The Clippers vs. Nuggets pre-season matchup will be televised on Bally Sports.