Heading into Tuesday’s matchup with the Denver Nuggets, the LA Clippers have 24 games remaining in the regular season. They’re just one game back from the No. 8 spot, and just 3.5 games back from the No. 3 spot. Every game on the slate for the next six weeks are practically must-wins if the goal’s to make it to the postseason.
Here are 3 things to watch for post All-Star break as the LA Clippers compete for a playoff spot.
Lou Williams’ production
The No. 1 indicator for the Clippers’ potential to make the postseason is whether or not Lou Williams continues to play like an all-star.
— theScore (@theScore) February 19, 2018
He finished with 35 points in 33 minutes off the bench Friday against the Phoenix Suns, cementing his grasp on the sixth man of the year award.
The New Orleans Pelicans
The Pelicans are a popular choice to fall out of the top eight, considering the season-ending injury to DeMarcus Cousins. At the same time, the Utah Jazz have 11 of their remaining games against non-playoff contenders.
If anything, the Clippers have one of the toughest schedules remaining; they’ll have to take advantage of any unexpected poor nights from Pelicans or Nuggets.
Tough Stretch: The Clippers play the Warriors, Nuggets, Rockets, and Cavs in their next 10.
Avery Bradley and Austin Rivers
Head coach Doc Rivers said he’s not sure exactly when Avery Bradley (hernia) will be back, but post-season surgery is already being discussed simultaneously. Regardless of the timetable, Austin Rivers now has a major impact on whether or not the Clippers make the playoffs.
Rivers scored 14 points on 5-of-10 shooting Thursday, with two 3-pointers, three rebounds, five assists, one steal and zero turnovers in 38 minutes. Rivers went just 2-of-6 from the free-throw line, something he’ll have to improve considering the opponents they have coming up.
He finished with 17 points in 36 minutes Friday night in a 128-117 win over the Suns. He was 2-2 from the free-throw line and 3-7 from beyond the arc.