76ers Blog: Pre-Game Notes ~ 12/9/2013 vs. LA Clippers
12/9/2013 6:21:00 PM
The 76ers (7-14; 3rd-Atlantic Division, 11th-Eastern Conference) play their first of two meetings this season with the Los Angeles Clippers (1st-Pacific Division, 4th-Western Conference); the teams will re-connect again about two months from now in a Sunday, February 9th game at Staples Center.
The Sixers are playing through a stretch during which they face a couple of playoff-hopeful Western Conference clubs; they lost to the Denver Nuggets by 11 points on Saturday, and will visit the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday, before returning home later in the week to host the Portland Trail Blazers.
The Clippers are in the midst season-high tying seven-game road trip. With veteran NBA head coach Doc Rivers in his debut season leading the team, Los Angeles has gone 1-2 so far on their current trek. Overall, the Clippers have lost three of their last four games.
PG Michael Carter-Williams ~ Skin infection (out; "Fifth assistant," per Brett Brown)
C DeAndre Jordan ~ Left ankle sprain (will player, per Doc Rivers)
SG J.J. Redick ~ Right hand fracture (out)
G Maalik Wayns ~ Left knee meniscus tear (out)
The 76ers - again without starting point guard Michael Carter-Williams - will turn to Tony Wroten to make a second straight start. He will have the difficult task of defending Chris Paul, one of the NBA's elite players at his position.
Wroten - in his second season out of Washington - actually spent some time this past summer working out with Paul. "He's one of - if not the best - point guard in the league," judged Wroten, who said he learned a lot from the off-season sessions. "Just how consistent he is, how hard he works. Playing against him in one-on-one's, two-on-two's. I'm competitive just like him, so I try to go at him, just like he goes at me."
Sixers head coach Brett Brown - while an assistant coach with the San Antonio Spurs - has become plenty familiar with Paul over the course of the Wake Forest product's nine-year career, whether coaching against Paul during his stints with New Orleans and Los Angeles.
"He is an alpha-dog," Brown said. "He is that tough and that demanding of himself and teammates. You have to keep the game in front of you."
The Los Angeles Clippers have been hit with a string of injuries early on in Doc Rivers' first-go 'round as the team's head coach and senior vice president of basketball operations. Shooting guard J.J. Reddick - picked up this off-season - has a hand fracture, while key reserve small forward Matt Barnes has had to miss time with a retinal tear.
In the Clippers' most recent game, a loss at Cleveland on Saturday, powerhouse center DeAndre Jordan sprained his right foot. Rivers expects Jordan to be available against the Sixers.
"I think we should be better. I want our guys to understand that," said Rivers of his team's 13-8 record, which leads the Western Conference's Pacific Division. He didn't want to dwell on the impact of Los Angeles' injuries. "You pay everyone [on the roster]. I think you've got to find ways."
A one-on-one conversation with Sixers' guard Tony Wroten (seen speaking with Brett Brown) is linked below the image in the above right corner of the article.