Two of the highest scoring backcourts in the NBA will be featured in tonight’s matchup of the Los Angeles Clippers (44-25) vs. the Washington Wizards (40-28).
Chris Paul is coming off of one of his best performances, a 30-point, 11-assist performance at Sacramento in which he was responsible for half of the 116 points the Clippers scored. When the Clippers played in Washington in December, Paul had a season-high six turnovers, while Wizards guards John Wall (10 points, 11 assists) and Bradley Beal (game-high 29 points) helped Washington break a nine-game Clippers win-streak with a 104-96 victory.
Paul isn’t getting caught up in the head-to-head matchup, though.
“We have a team,” Paul said. “Luckily, we’re not playing two-on-two. We’ll come out here with a gameplan, and hopefully, it’ll work.”
Clippers small forward Matt Barnes, out the last two games with a balky hamstring, went through shootaround this morning. He got some shots up and did some full court strides before declaring himself a game-time decision.
Barnes also discussed Jamal Crawford, who turns 35 years old today. Crawford remains out with what the Clippers are calling a “right calf contusion”, and Barnes said the team misses his presence.
“It’s tough, because he’s such a great teammate,” Barnes said of Crawford’s absence. “Miss his spirit, his energy. It’s been tough. … we know he’s fighting through a tough injury right now. We’re supporting him. The key for him is to just to be ready for the playoffs.
“The regular season kind of is what it is for us; we’re going to need our sixth man in the playoffs,” Barnes added.
With Barnes listed as questionable for tonight, Hedo Turkoglu is listed as a probable starter. Turkoglu celebrated his 36th birthday yesterday, and is playing his most relevant stretch of basketball in three years.
“I love what I do,” said Turkoglu, who once stated that his goal is to play 1,000 NBA games (he would need to play next season to achieve that goal, not including the playoffs).
“I still want to play, and if I get the opportunity again, I’ll try to do my best,” Turkoglu added.