After aggravating his left hamstring last week in practice, Paul George will miss his fourth straight game for the Clippers. Team PR confirmed earlier today that George will sit when the Clippers play against Orlando on Thursday.
The Clippers are currently 9-4 in games when George is out but Kawhi Leonard plays, including a resounding win over the Cavaliers Tuesday when Leonard set his season-high with 43 points.
The team is about to head out on a six-game road trip that starts Saturday in New Orleans and concludes Jan. 28 back in Los Angeles against the Lakers. Presumably, the team will re-evaluate George before the road trip, and hopefully he is capable of returning sometime during that six-game stretch if not at the start.
The Clippers have been experimenting with their starting lineup in George’s absence, using a different five in each of the past three games he has missed. Moe Harkless, Patrick Patterson, Lou Williams, and Landry Shamet have each been in the starting unit, but Williams seems like an emergency option that Doc Rivers and the coaching staff would prefer to avoid.
The bet here is that Patterson returns to the starting lineup against the Magic, who have essentially been starting two centers in Nikola Vucevic and Khem Birch. The team has enjoyed using Patterson’s size against bigger opponents.