By Cameron Buford, Whatsgoodinsports.com
2/10/21 (17-8) Los Angeles Clippers vs (6-19) Minnesota Timberwolves
The Clippers would be without their second-leading scoring in this matchup, Paul George for the third straight game with his right toe injury. They would somehow need to replace his 24.4 points per game. Though they would have Patrick Beverley, their heart and soul back after he was out for 8 games due to a sore right knee.
Minnesota would also be without their lead guard D’Angelo Russell, who remained sidelined with left leg soreness. Though they were pleased to welcome Karl-Anthony Towns back to the court after he missed 13 games, after being diagnosed with COVID on January 15th. The two Timberwolves stars, Towns and Russell, have yet to play over five games together since Feb. 6, 2020.
In his post-game press conference, Towns was fairly candid about his experience with COVID, “I’m a high-risk case. COVID did not treat me well whatsoever,” said Towns. “A lot of scary nights. My dad called me 24/7.” Karl-Anthony finished the game with 18 points and 10 rebounds, and said this after the game, ”I was just smiling on the court, even when it got to the end because I was just so proud of myself to get to this point.”
Though Naz Reid and Malik Beasley chipped in 23 and 21 points respectively for the Timberwolves, it wasn’t enough to overcome the visiting Clippers who got 27 points from Lou Williams, in place of Paul George. Additionally, Kawhi Leonard hit for his season-high 36 points. Which was also his 10th consecutive game of scoring at least 20 points scored.
But it was the energy and the vocal leadership of Patrick Beverley that would lead to the win for the Clippers. As Head Coach Ty Lue would state, “It was good seeing Pat back out there, He’s our emotional leader. Just seeing how hard he plays every night and competes, we needed that.”
2/12/21 (18-8) Los Angeles Clippers vs (10-15) Chicago Bulls
The Clippers would be without Paul George for the fourth consecutive game, and they would need to be on point in this game, as they gave up 45 points to the Bulls Zach LaVine in their previous matchup. Even more recently LaVine went for 46 points in their win in the last game over the Pelicans.
This was a 4 point game at halftime, Kawhi then went off for 16 points in the third quarter, which helped to push the Clippers lead to 12 points. “Kawhi, when he gets it going, it’s hard to stop him,” Clippers center Ivica Zubac told us. “He’s hitting those contested shots like there’s no defense. He gets the ball so high. It seems like defense doesn’t affect him. When he gets it going, we’re a tough team to beat.”
To close out the game Marcus Morris Sr. hit five three-pointers in the fourth quarter, which was a new career-high for three-pointers made in a single quarter. Lou Williams chipped in an additional 11 points in the final quarter. This was the Clippers’ 11th game this season scoring at least 120 points, which ranks them third in the NBA. They are also 9-1 on the season when they score at least 120 points.
“We’ve got to be if not the best bench in the league — both of us are proven vets and proven scorers in this league,” Morris said. “I think it’s just our camaraderie. Being really good friends, that helps us on the court, not just scoring (but) being vets, being able to talk, being able to lead the team, being able to lead our unit.”
Recurring back spasms kept Bulls F Otto Porter Jr. from playing in his sixth straight game. Coby White and Tomas Satoransky scored 17 points apiece in this game, while LaVine was limited to 26 points which was a far cry from his last output vs the Clippers, this also dropped the Bulls to a 3 and 5 record over their past 8 games.
2/14/21 (11-9) Cleveland Cavaliers vs (19-8) Los Angeles Clippers
As the Clippers welcome the Cleveland Cavaliers into Staples on Valentine’s Day, they would be playing without Paul George for the fifth straight game and they would be playing without Kawhi Leonard who was a pre-game scratch just before
tip-off. Although they routed the Cavaliers, in Cleveland, less than 2 weeks ago when Kawhi and George combined for 60 points in that game.
Tonight, the Clippers would be led by Lou Williams who had his fifth career game with at least 30 points and 10 assists. This would also be Williams’ sixth consecutive game with double-digit points and his 10 assists would be a season-high for him. This is the fourth game, this season, in which the Clippers recorded at least 30 assists and they are 4-0 in these matchups.
The season highs didn’t stop there. Marcus Morris Sr. has a season-high 23 points, his most points scored in a Clippers’ uniform. Serge Ibaka has a season-high 21 points tonight. It’s his first 20-point game in a Clippers’ uniform. He also had a career assist tonight with 6 assists!
With his 16th point tonight, Patrick Beverley now has 4,000 career points for which he was awarded the game ball. “With this new coaching staff, they’ve been telling me to let it fly even if it’s being contested,” said Beverley, who also knocked down four 3-pointers. “Those shots have been going in.”
The Clippers also finished the game with 31 assists on 42 shots and impressively limited themselves to 10 turnovers. This lead to their third win in a row and they have now won seven of ten games. On the flip side, the Cavaliers have now lost seven games in a row.
2/15/21 (11-15) Miami Heat vs (20-8) Los Angeles Clippers
In this back-to-back game, the Clippers will be down 4 of their starters for tonight’s game against the visiting Miami Heat. Once again, they will be missing Paul George due to a Bone Edema Right Toe, Kawhi Leonard due to a Left Lower Leg Contusion, Patrick Beverley will miss the game because of rest, and Nic Batum was reported to have a migraine. That’s a lot missing firepower, yet another great opportunity for the team’s young guys to step up and show their value.
After quickly going down by 7 points the Clippers responded with a scoring barrage of their own; Marcus Morris hit a three, Lue Williams broke Robinson down for an easy jaunt to the basket. Serge Ibaka, got the ball in the post and was
fouled as he went up for a layup, he hit his free throw to give the Clippers their first lead of the evening.
In this game the young players did in fact show off their value, Amir Coffey went 4-4 form deep in the first half. Terance Mann played with great energy and intensity as did Ivica Zubac. Couple this with the hot shooting of Marcus Morris, who hit a career-high in scoring in any half. The Clippers went to the locker room with a lead at the break.
Amir Coffey had a career-high 5 three-pointers against the Heat, Terance Mann also had a season-high 15 points, as did Ivica Zubac score a season-high 22 points on Monday night. For the second time in Lou Williams’ career, he had consecutive games with at least 10 assists. These guys have taken advantage of their court time, which will bold well for this team when they face stiffer competition.
When prompted Clippers Head Coach Ty Lue quickly responded with attributing player development for increasing the confidence and improvement of the players shooting the ball, “player development I think Shaun Fein’s done a hell of a job; Kenny Atkinson, Dahntay Jones, and all of the guys working with these guys!” Ty Lue went on to comment how important this win was for the growth of his team “minus four starters and these young guys being able to step up and play well. You know Luke playing well; Amir (Coffey)… Terance (Mann)… you know I just thought it was good for those guys as well as the team.”
This is the second time this season the Clippers have had consecutive games of at least 30 assists. Prior to this season, the Clippers haven’t had consecutive games with at least 30 assists since December of 2014. Effective ball movement and crisp passes were a major reason the team hit 15 of 32 for 46.9% from 3-point range, helping Marcus Morris Sr. finish the game with 32 points.
Seemingly, the Clippers have some payback on their minds as they complete this homestand, as coming to town this week will be the Utah Jazz (23-5) and the Brooklyn Nets (21-5). Each of these teams has a win over the Clippers earlier this season. I speculate these past few games, where these young players received value playing time will serve the team well when they face these championship contenders.
So, there you have my recap of the Clippers week, kindly share your thoughts on what stood out to you thus far in regards to the Clippers Season. You can reach out to me on Twitter @whatsgoodnsport or forward any suggestions on what topics or angles you’d like to see discussed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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