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Clippers rule Moe Harkless out vs. Pelicans

Clippers, Moe Harkless

Los Angeles Clippers wing Maurice Harkless will not play in his team’s game against the New Orleans Pelicans on Saturday afternoon due to a back issue, according to Jovan Buha of The Athletic.

Harkless played in just 13 minutes during the Clippers’ win over the Orlando Magic on Thursday, his lowest minutes total since late November.

Harkless has played in 42 games, with 30 of them starts this season. He is averaging 5.5 points, four rebounds and one steal over 22.8 minutes per game while shooting 51.4 percent from the floor, 33.3 percent from three-point range and 55 percent from the free-throw line.

While Harkless’ counting numbers and shooting percentages on their own are certainly nothing to write home about, he is a terrific perimeter defender, which is the reason why he has earned such significant playing time for Los Angeles this year.

The 26-year-old, who played his collegiate basketball at St. John’s, was originally selected by the Philadelphia 76ers in the first round (15th pick overall) of the 2012 NBA Draft, but he was traded to the Orlando Magic as part of the four-team blockbuster trade that sent Dwight Howard to the Los Angeles Lakers later that summer.

Harkless spent the first three years of his NBA career with the Magic, alternating between a starting job and a bench role. He then signed a multi-year deal with the Portland Trail Blazers during the summer of 2015 and proceeded to spend his next four years with the Blazers, developing into a consistent starter and playoff contributor. His best season came in 2016-17, when he registered 10 points, 4.4 boards and 1.1 steals a night for the Blazers.

The Queens, N.Y. native has put up career averages of 7.2 points, 3.7 rebounds and one steal per game over eight NBA seasons.