Clippers Not Spared Ahead Of Celtics NBA Clash
For the LA Clippers side about to face the Boston Celtics on Dec. 30, there’s unfortunately been no exceptions regarding the league’s health and safety protocols. While Orlando’s days of the bubble seem a long time ago now, the threat of infections remain real.
In fact, as of December 19th, an unbelievable 71 players have entered the NBA’s protocols, which has forced teams to get creative with who they happen to be sending out and onto the court.
They’re A Compromised Squad
For the Clippers, one such temporary departure had been Nicolas Batum, who had only just returned from an ankle injury when he tested positive.
Fans were happy to welcome Batum back, and even more so when he put on a stellar performance in Oklahoma City shortly after.
But their joy would be short-lived, as it would next be Marcus Morris entering the NBA protocols on Dec. 18. This was particularly bad news for the Clippers, who were already missing their number one offender in Paul George. In George’s absence, the Clippers had come to rely heavily on Morris and his reliable shooting.
While the loss in Oklahoma City had in fact been a totally winnable game, an LA Clippers squad without Morris and George was evidently compromised. It’s easy to understand why league officials and teams alike remain uneasy about what may happen next as infections continue to spread throughout the NBA.
A Season Dominated By Injuries
But if any one thing has been threatening the consistency of the Clippers more than everything else, it would have to be injury worries. And it’s a situation that has been present since right from the start of the season.
With the way things were going, NBA fans knew that there existed a strong possibility their team might end up suffering meaningful consequences because of an incomplete squad brought about by injuries. How well they would end up playing would ultimately be defined by how well the Clippers responded to those injuries.
Despite everything that’s been going on with injuries, league protocols, etc., the Clippers have not fallen apart. In fact, they’ve won five of their last seven games – and with the most recent three wins scored without the leadership and strength of George.
George’s Return Is Crucial
Even so, having George healthy and able to play again as soon as possible is vital for the Clippers, who now sit 5th in the Western Conference. And with Seeds 5-9 separated by only 1.5 NBA games, making each game count is especially crucial.