L.A. is riding lean to start its road trip
Paul George will miss his fifth consecutive game due to injury with a left hamstring strain, as reported by Clippers PR earlier Friday. The team is 3-1 during George's most recent absence, having defeated all three teams with losing records at home, while losing to the Denver Nuggets on the road. For the season, L.A. is 16-5 without George in the lineup.
Already down one starter, the Clippers could also be without another. Moe Harkless left Thursday's win over Orlando early with back soreness. He is questionable for tomorrow's clash in New Orleans.
The Clippers don't appear to be mining the end of their bench from some extra depth either. Both two-way players — Johnathan Motley and Amir Coffey — are staying with the Agua Caliente Clippers. In addition, rookies Terance Mann and Mfiondu Kabengele as well as Derrick Walton Jr. have all been sent to Ontario for assignment.
That means the Clippers will be rolling with 10 fully healthy players for the start of the road trip, and potentially 11 given how quickly Harkless recovers. Doc Rivers likes to play two full lines, so all 10 players available should expect playing time, at least until George and Harkless return to action.
Rivers likes the feel of the second unit as is, so expect Patrick Patterson to slide into the starting lineup in Harkless's place while JaMychal Green remains in the bench frontcourt with Montrezl Harrell.
The Clippers have one back-to-back on the upcoming trip. Hopefully George is ready to go by then, because the team is winless in its two contests without both superstars.