Nicolas Batum is replacing Marcus Morris as the Clippers‘ starting forward and will stay in the role for the rest of the season, head coach Tyronn Lue told reporters, including Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times.
“It was nothing that Marcus did wrong, just trying something different,” Lue said. “And when you’re not playing well, you want to try something different, and Marcus was all for it. We have to sacrifice if we want to win at a high level.”
As Greif writes, there’s less clarity about who will back up Batum. Morris and Robert Covington are the two primary options, and Lue was noncommittal on which player might have the edge. At least for the immediate future, Covington should receive playing time, as Morris has entered the league’s health and safety protocols and has been ruled out of Wednesday’s game in Memphis (Twitter link via ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk).
Here’s more on the two Los Angeles-based teams:
- Clippers guard Norman Powell, who is questionable for Wednesday’s contest after missing the past 11 games with a left shoulder subluxation, will be reinserted into the rotation once he returns, Greif writes in the same piece. “We need him back. We need his juice. We need his scoring,” Lue said of Powell.
- Lakers guard D’Angelo Russell (hip) and big man Anthony Davis (foot) are probable to play in Wednesday’s game at Chicago, tweets Mark Medina of NBA.com. Forward LeBron James (foot) is questionable. Russell missed the past two games with his injury, while James just returned Sunday after a 13-game absence.
- Guard Dennis Schröder, who is playing on a veteran’s minimum contract in his second stint with the Lakers, has provided a valuable spark all season long, according to Dan Woike of The Los Angeles Times. “It’s a lot of energy, man. He plays with such a good passion. He’s energetic,” Davis said. “That’s how he plays, he’s scrappy and he saves a fastbreak, comes back down and draws a foul. He’s kind of another spark. Got the crowd into it. But that’s Dennis. That’s how he plays. … He’s leaving it all on the floor. Everyone is. I mean, the position that we’re in, you got to be able to leave it all on the floor, give 110%. And he’s giving like 150. He’s leaving it all on the floor, laying everything out on the line for us to get a win. And it’s contagious.”
- Mirjam Swanson of the Southern California News Group is skeptical the Clippers and Lakers can make deep playoff runs in the West, noting that injuries have played a role in the two teams’ inconsistency. She believes the Nuggets, Grizzlies and even the Kings should be favored over the two L.A. teams due to their continuity.