Members of the Batum Battalion can officially rejoice: Nicolas Batum will return to the rotation on Tuesday night when the LA Clippers take on the Brooklyn Nets, according to Head Coach Tyronn Lue.
The veteran wing was absent from the lineup for Sunday's game against the New York Knicks, which the Clippers won by a final of 129-115. Patrick Patterson had a strong performance in Batum's place, scoring 13 points on 5-of-5 shooting from the field.
But the Nets are a much better opponent than the Knicks, with three superstars headlining the roster in Kyrie Irving, James Harden and Kevin Durant. Not only will the Clippers rely on Batum to hit his usual amount of corner three-pointers, but his ability to defend multiple positions should come in handy as well.
Batum's performance has been one of the Clippers' biggest surprises of the season so far. The 32-year-old forward is averaging 9.8 points, 4.8 rebounds and 2.6 assists while shooting over 45% from three-point range, and he's started in all 20 of his appearances. It seemed like he was starting by necessity at first, as Marcus Morris was injured to begin the season, but Batum continued to start even after Morris made his return.
Look for Batum to play a sizable role against Brooklyn, especially when it comes to crashing the glass and moving the ball. The Nets don't rebound particularly well, and Batum has been instrumental in getting guys like Kawhi Leonard and Paul George wide-open looks this year.
Unfortunately, the Clippers won't field their full roster against Brooklyn. Patrick Beverley, who hasn't played a game on LA's current road trip, remains out due to knee soreness. As it stands, there's no timetable for his return.
The LA Clippers and Brooklyn Nets will tip-off at approximately 4:30 p.m. PT.