Friday, April 12, 2024

NBA Preview: Los Angeles Clippers (15-10) at Indiana Pacers (13-11)

The Los Angeles Clippers will go for their longest winning streak in eight seasons when they face the Indiana Pacers in Indianapolis on Monday night.

The Clippers have won seven games in a row, most recently toppling the New York Knicks 144-122 on Saturday night to complete a perfect four-game homestand.

The last time Los Angeles won eight in a row in a single season was during a 10-game winning streak from Dec. 25, 2015, to Jan. 13, 2016. The Clippers have won seven consecutive games six times since then but have dropped the eighth contest each time.

James Harden, acquired in a blockbuster trade with the Philadelphia 76ers on Oct. 31, is beginning to settle in with Los Angeles after an awkward start. He has reached double figures in both points and assists in each of the past two games.

Spearheading the recent hot streak has been Kawhi Leonard, who is averaging 33.8 points in the past five games while shooting 64.8 percent from the floor.

He was 12-for-16 shooting against the Knicks and scored 36 points.

After playing 60 games or fewer in each of his previous five seasons, Leonard has played in all 25 games so far this season.

Los Angeles also welcomed second-leading scorer Paul George back against the Knicks after he missed Thursday’s 121-113 win against the Golden State Warriors with a sore hip.

George contributed 25 points and seven assists against New York, producing 19 points in the second half.

Indiana is looking to regroup after losing its third straight game on Saturday night under adverse conditions.

Playing their second straight road game on back-to-back nights and fourth road game of the week, the Pacers didn’t arrive in Minneapolis until a couple of hours before tip-off against the Minnesota Timberwolves and admittedly ran out of gas in the second half of a 127-109 loss on Saturday.

Indiana also played without leading scorer Tyrese Haliburton because of a left knee bruise. The Pacers did not practice on Sunday, so it’s unclear if Haliburton will be available against the Clippers.

With backup point guard Andrew Nembhard also sidelined with a bone bruise in his knee, the Pacers were forced to play T.J. McConnell and Bruce Brown extended minutes in the backcourt on Saturday.

Indiana held its own in the first half, but Minnesota pulled away after making 7-of-9 attempts from 3-point distance in the third quarter.

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