Clippers-Lakers game Monday comes with motivation aplenty

first_imgHe said he’ll always have fond feelings for his former teammates, who have lost seven of their past 10 games after falling again last-place Phoenix on Saturday.“They are my guys, they will always be my friends and it’s tough to see them lose,” Zubac said. “But them losing is good for us, so that’s how it works.”MBAH A MOUTE’S STATUS Clippers hope they can play to their capabilities, quell Mavericks’ momentum For Lakers’ LeBron James, Jacob Blake’s shooting is bigger issue than a big Game 4 victory Kristaps Porzingis ruled out as Clippers, Mavericks set for Game 5; Follow for game updates Clippers vs. Mavericks Game 5 playoff updates from NBA beat reporters “We’ve been going at it every practice when I was there,” said Zubac, who is averaging 8.6 points, 7.7 rebounds and shooting 44.8 percent from the field and 70.8 percent from the foul line. “I know how to play against them, I know how to make them work and I’ll be just happy to play the Lakers for the first time in my career.“I’ve been watching almost every game,” Zubac continued. “I feel like every time I watch them, I’m like, ‘If I was there, I would help them. I would definitely make a difference on the floor,’ you know? But they’re not my team anymore.”Related Articlescenter_img LOS ANGELES — Former Laker Ivica Zubac expects full well that his former teammates will be motivated when they meet his new team Monday — it’s crunchtime in the playoff race and the seventh-place Clippers lead the 10th-place Lakers in the Western Conference standings.After being part of the first trade between the franchises since 1983, when the teams exchanged packages that brought Norm Nixon to the (then-San Diego) Clippers and sent Byron Scott to the Lakers, Zubac said he’ll be ready to go, too.“I can’t wait; I’m motivated,” the 21-year-old starting center said. “They’re a dangerous team, they’re fighting for playoffs and this is a big game, one of the biggest games of the season for them, so we gotta come out ready, focused. We gotta play smart, we gotta know what we want to do, take away their things and we’ll be good.”Zubac said he’ll use what he learned in practices against his former team, whose games he’s regularly tuned in to watch since the trade, which sent Mike Muscala (who was acquired two days earlier from Philadelphia as part of the deal for Tobias Harris) to the Lakers for Zubac and Michael Beasley, who was waived. What the Clippers are saying the day after Luka Doncic’s game-winner tied series, 2-2 Coach Doc Rivers said it was news to him that Luc Mbah a Moute’s status on the team’s injury report was upgraded Saturday from a definite “out” to less-definite “questionable.” But he called the development “fantastic.”Mbah a Moute has missed 61 consecutive games — including Sunday’s victory over the Knicks — with what’s been categorized as a “sore knee.”Rivers said he welcomes his return, when and if it comes, though he’ll temper his expectations.“Obviously, even when he can play, he can’t play a lot, he’s not played all year,” Rivers said. “So my guess is he’ll have a very low-minute thing. But you can always put him in to guard someone, Luc can do that anytime. And we need him down the stretch, so it would be great to get him back.“He’s been in zero practices,” Rivers added, noting that Mbah a Moute has worked with assistant coaches recently. “He proved that he can stop (assistant) Sam (Cassell). And Sam thinks that’s a good sign. Sam thinks he can still score right now in the NBA.” Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img