Following the Clippers’ win against the New York Knicks on Sunday, Paul George understood that the true challenge for his squad awaited them across the East River in Brooklyn.
“Everyone is looking forward to that matchup,” George said when asked about Tuesday’s game against the Nets. “This ball club, and the world. It should be a great showdown.”
George is right—the game is going to draw a lot of eyeballs. Not only will it be nationally televised on TNT, but outside of a game involving the Lakers, this matchup might have the most combined star power of any game all season. The Clippers All-Stars, George and Kawhi Leonard, versus the league’s newest superteam in Kevin Durant, James Harden and Kyrie Irving. That’s 34 All-Star appearances between the five of them.
The New York Times’ Marc Stein reports that Harden will return to the lineup after missing their previous game with a thigh contusion.
While this is exciting news for NBA fans, it will no doubt make it more difficult on the Clippers, who were already going to have to deal with Durant and Irving.
While Harden has been deferring to Irving when both of them have been in the lineup (perhaps he doesn’t want to step on anyone’s toes as the new guy), he’s always a threat to go off for 50+ on a given night. George and Leonard will likely guard Harden and Durant (it’s up to Head Coach Tyronn Lue to decide who guards whom) but that still leaves Irving with a favorable matchup against temporary starter Reggie Jackson. All-Defensive guard Patrick Beverley will remain out with right knee soreness, which is a shame, as he would’ve at least given Irving some problems.
Nicolas Batum is questionable to return from his left groin injury for Tuesday's matchup. The Clippers will need him, as they'll have their hands full trying to contain the high-powered Nets offense.
How to Watch
Matchup: LA Clippers (16-5) at Brooklyn Nets (13-9)
Date: Tuesday, Feb. 2
Time: 4:30 p.m. PT
Venue: Barclays Center
Broadcast Information: TNT
Spread: Clippers +3.5
Moneyline: Clippers +132, Nets -156