In a mouth-watering matchup in the 2020-21, the LA Clippers will host the Eastern Conference-leading Philadelphia 76ers at the Staples Center on Saturday. The two title-contenders will battle it out for the first time this season.
The Philadelphia 76ers have impressed with their winning mentality and resilience this season. They lost their star center and MVP candidate, Joel Embiid, after a severe knee injury but have continued to win games in his absence. The 76ers are 7-1 without Embiid and have won ten of their last 11 games.
Meanwhile, the LA Clippers made a major addition to their roster. They added the services of veteran point guard Rajon Rondo ahead of the NBA trade deadline to bolster their chances of going all the way. However, they traded away one of the best sixth men in the league, Lou Williams, for Rondo, a move that was met with a lot of criticism.
Nevertheless, after an inconsistent run, the LA Clippers seem to have found their mojo again. They are entering this matchup on a four-game winning streak.
Philadelphia 76ers vs LA Clippers: Injury Updates
Other than Joel Embiid, the Philadelphia 76ers boast a largely healthy roster. Embiid is making good progress in his recovery from his knee injury and will be re-evaluated in a week before he rejoins the action.
Head coach Doc Rivers spoke about Embiid's condition earlier this week:
"I don’t know...(if Embiid will join the team later on the road trip)...We’ll probably have an update later in the week."
The 76ers acquired George Hill and Ignas Brazdeikis ahead of the NBA trade deadline. But both players aren't expected to feature in this game.
The LA Clippers are facing quite a lot of injury issues.
Their star forward Kawhi Leonard is listed as questionable due to a due to right foot soreness. Marcus Morris Sr. joins him in the list of questionable players, as he is suffering from a right calf contusion.
Moreover, recently-acquired Rajon Rondo is 'day to day" due to an adductor issue. Serge Ibaka (back), Jay Scrubb (foot) and Patrick Beverly (knee) continue to be sidelined.
Philadelphia 76ers vs LA Clippers: Predicted Lineups
The Philadelphia 76ers will likely continue the same lineup that has been working so well for them in Embiid's absence.
Ben Simmons and Seth Curry should start in the backcourt, with Simmons running the point guard position. Danny Green is likely to retain his spot as the small forward.
Tobias Harris has been putting up fireworks this season as the power forward. Mike Scott has been filling in Joel Embiid's role, with Dwight Howard coming off the bench.
With an injury-plagued roster, the LA Clippers' lineup will look quite different for this game.
Luka Kennard is expected to start in place of Kawhi Leonard as the small forward. Paul George is healthy and should retain his shooting guard position.
Reggie Jackson could start as the point guard, and Nicolas Batum as the power forward. Ivica Zubac has been doing an amazing job filling in for Serge Ibaka as the center.
Philadelphia 76ers vs LA Clippers: Predicted Starting 5s
Point Guard - Ben Simmons | Shooting Guard - Seth Curry | Small Forward - Danny Green | Power Forward - Tobias Harris | Center - Mike Scott.
Point Guard - Reggie Jackson | Shooting Guard - Paul George | Small Forward - Luke Kennard | Power Forward - Nicolas Batum | Center - Ivica Zubac.