Ah, yes, a familiar scene: an NBA game played, not yet halfway through the regular season, and most fans have no idea who is playing for either team.
Where the injury report looks a little something like this:
Nets @HSpecialSurgery Status Report for tonight's game at the Clippers: pic.twitter.com/KV5vjz5RHQ— Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) December 27, 2021
The Clippers are in a similar spot, as Brian writes:
On Christmas night, it was announced All Star wing Paul George suffered a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow and will be reevaluated in three to four weeks. Kawhi Leonard is still out as he continues to recover from knee surgery. Marcus Morris, Sr., Jay Scrubb, and Reggie Jackson are in health and safety protocols. Jason Preston is out with a right foot injury. Isaiah Hartenstein is out with a left ankle sprain.
Enjoy the Eric Bledsoe vs. James Harden show. Brian wrote about them both as his “players to watch” because, well, who else is there?
WHO: Brooklyn Nets (22-9) at Los Angeles Clippers (17-16)
WHEN: 10:30 PM EST
WHERE: NBA TV (national), YES (local), WFAN-FM (radio)
Player to watch: Eric Bledsoe
It’s been a bumpy couple of years for Bledsoe. He had good regular seasons with the Milwaukee Bucks, but three straight disastrous postseason appearances marked the end of his time there. Last year with the New Orleans Pelicans was a mess, but in his defense, the Pels’ roster construction had him taking WAY more threes than he should have. Now that he’s back where his career began, he’s looking more like his old self. He’s cut down on the threes and although his shooting percentages still aren’t great, he’s still been solid in his role. With George out, Bledsoe and the rest of the Clippers will need to do more to maintain their playoff spot.
For a guy who had missed two weeks, James Harden looked pretty damn solid on Christmas night. He put up 36/10/10 in 38 minutes with 17 free throw attempts and only four turnovers to go along with it. He had an awful fourth quarter but he did more than enough in the first three to remind you how awesome he is when he’s locked in. When Harden is going downhill, he forces opposing defenses into impossible choices. Focus on him, he’ll find big fella for the lob or somebody open in the corners. Play back and he’ll hit you with a floater. As Harden regains his rhythm and orchestrates the Nets attack, he will help the Nets maintain their place among the elite teams in the NBA.
For more on the Clippers, check out Clips Nation.