24 hours after the Sixers lost to a hapless Lakers side, the 3-32 Sixers will stay in Los Angeles to take on a significantly more talented Clippers team.
The Clippers themselves are on a bit of a hot streak as of late. They have won their last five games all on the road. While admittedly they only beat in those games the Lakers, Jazz, Wizards, Hornets, and Pelicans, none of whom dazzle in the standings, all five of those teams do dazzle in the standings in comparison to our wonderfully woeful Sixers.
The Sixers struggled shooting mightily last night against the Lakers, an awful defensive team. The Clippers, while not a great defensive team, have a much stronger defensive rating (101.3 - 14th in NBA) than the defensively dreadful Lakers (108.1 - last in NBA).
The bigger problem for the Sixers may be their own defense against the Clippers offense. The Clippers are 4th in the NBA in offensive efficiency and while the Sixers are a stronger defensive team than the aforementioned Lakers, the Sixers defensive rating is still a bad 104.2, enough for only 21st in the NBA. In part this is thanks to Isaiah Canaan's defensive rating for this season, an abysmal 110, while playing more minutes than anyone on the team besides Jahlil Okafor.
In recent history, games between the Sixers and Clippers have not gone well for the Sixers. The Clippers have won seven in a row against the Sixers and by an average margin of 22.9 points. The last Sixers time the Sixers beat the Clippers came nearly five years ago on March 17, 2011. The leading scorer in the game was Jodie Meeks* who went 7-12 for 22 points. Andres Nocioni (Toastioni!) played 7 minutes and did absolutely nothing. Darius Songaila, Jason Kapono, Marreese Speights, and Craig Brackins did not play. Sigh, there are times I look back on the Doug Collins era Sixers and laugh my ass off.
*Missing you, Orestes! Blog dad!
Perhaps the only bit of good news for the Sixers is Blake Griffin remains out with a partially torn left quad tendon. Despite Griffin's absence though, the Clippers have continued their winning ways and have been relying on Paul Pierce taking on increased minutes to fill the void left by the at-times indomitable Blake Griffin. And though Pierce is a guy whose reputation will always precede him, his numbers have been far less than stellar. Pierce is currently experiencing career lows in PER (7.5), true shooting percentage (47.6%), and free throw attempt rate (.208), although on the rare occasion he does get to the line this year his free throw percentage (84.4%) is above his career average (80.7%). To put Pierce's numbers into some perspective, Isaiah Canaan has a higher PER (10.6), true shooting percentage (51.4%), and free throw attempt rate (.251) this season than the future Hall of Famer.*
*And that's the story of how Paul Pierce knew it was finally time to retire.
Former Sixer veteran Luc Mbah a Moute currently has a starting role on the Clippers, and despite the fact that Mbah a Moute's numbers are down across the board from last season and definitively bad, that likely won't stop media members from likely mentioning how much the Sixers miss his Veteran Presence TM, even though Carl Landry is now playing and in the very small sample size of just three games and 44 minutes has put up better numbers than Mbah a Moute has or ever really could at this stage of his career.
The last two paragraphs make it seem like the Clippers are down and this could be an easy win, mainly because I have neglected to mention Chris Paul, DeAndre Jordan, and J.J. Redick. Yeah, this could be a problem game for our beloved win-starved Sixers.
For all things Clippers, check out Clips Nation, SB Nation's Los Angeles Clippers blog and come back here at 10:00 tonight for our game thread!