By Cameron Buford, Whatsgoodinsports.com
3/24/21 (28-16) Los Angeles Clippers vs (22-18) San Antonio Spurs
Coming off their first pair of back to back wins in over a month, the Clippers travel to San Antonio exact some revenge for their loss to the Spurs earlier this season. A win versus the Spurs would give the Clippers their third three game win streak since mid-February, during what some would call the dog days of the season.
In Kawhi Leonard’s third return to place he began his NBA career, the San Antonio fans in attendance were still anxious to let him know how they feel about him spurning the Spurs a few seasons ago. Although Kawhi was booed during pregame introductions and each time he touched the ball early… it wasn’t long before he silenced the fans. The stoic Leonard stepped into the passing lane and picked off and picked off a Dejounte Murray pass and converted a contested layup over two Spurs defenders.
In one of his more efficient games of the season Kawhi finished with a game high 25 points, nine rebounds, five steals and three assists in less than three quarters. This was also Kawhi Leonard’s 55th-straight game with at least 15 points, which is the third-longest such streak in franchise history and the longest since World B. Free (64 games, 11/2/78 – 4/1/79).
Marcus Morris Sr. chipped in 20 points on 5-7 shooting from behind the arc and Tree time Sixth Man of the year award winner Lou Williams, came off the bench to 16 points in this game to reach 15,000 points for his career. In his post-game zoomer Williams said this about his accomplishment, “Great milestone; “Especially someone who has come off the bench for most of his career.” Williams becomes the only player to reach this scoring total with less than 400 starts. Although Kawhi modestly said after the game “We’re not there yet,” the Clippers scored 41 points in the first quarter, which happens to be the most points scored they’ve in a first quarter this season. Additionally, this is the Clippers ninth game this season that they have shot at least 50% from beyond the arc which leads the NBA this season.
3/25/21 (29-16) Los Angeles Clippers vs (22-19) San Antonio Spurs
With the trade deadline coming up quickly it will be interesting to see what additions, if any they make to this roster. I’ve been a firm believer they need a pass first point guard to aid Kawhi and Paul George easier buckets late in games. Kindly share your thoughts on what moves they should make and let me know what you think their ceiling is if they choose not to make any roster changes.
Well, what do you know, the Clippers heard my pleas to add a point guard and sent perennial Sixth man of the year Award winner Lou Williams to the Atlanta Hawks for seldom used veteran point guard Rajon Rondo. I wasn’t expecting the Lou Williams scoring prowess off the bench to be the coast for Rondo, though I believe that he will have a bigger impact on the playoff. When asked about what a true point guard would bring Ty Lue told us, “It’s like having a quarterback, he’s the leader of the team, gets guys easy shots. I think he’ll make it a lot easier on PG and Kawhi, getting those guys in position as well but just understanding the game. Understanding who needs a shot, when they haven’t had a touch in a while, where guys spots are on the floor.”
Post-game after their win over the Spurs, Paul George shared his thought on the Lou Williams for Rajon Rondo trade, “Bittersweet, sad day for the Clipper family. Lou’s someone that’s been so big for the Clipper in Clippers history.” In terms of brining in Rajon Rondo, Paul said, “Another reliable. A [proven player, a champion… his experience playing on championship caliber teams can bring a lot to this team.”
The Clippers would dominate the boards in this game by grabbing a season-high 57 rebounds, compared to the Spurs 39 rebounds, while Paul George pulled down a season-high 13 rebounds. The Clippers also improved to 29-4 on the season when building a lead of 10 points or more. Also, Reggie Jackson has a season-high 28 points. Ivica Zubac continued his impressive play by tying his career-high with five blocked shots and recorded his longest streak of sixth-straight game with at least 10 points. While Terance Mann said he was is sad to lose Williams because, “Lou was my vet, he taught me how to be a pro.” But also, said he is excited to play alongside Rondo. Mann revealed that he carries Rondo’s rookie card in his wallet. Mann said “he was given the card and he kept getting better and better, in about the eight grade” and still keeps the card in his to this day and considers it a good-luck charm.
3/27/21 (32-13) Philadelphia 76ers vs (30-16) Los Angeles Clippers
In their first time facing their Head Coach from previous seasons, the Clippers would welcome Doc Rivers and the Philadelphia 76ers into Staples Center for a Saturday night match-up. The 76ers came into this game leading the eastern conference with a 32-13 record, while the Clippers came into this matchup riding a 4-game winning streak to get to 30-16, which earned them third place in the West ranking.
Although the 76ers would be without their MVP candidate Joel Embiid, who will miss his eighth consecutive game. The Clippers would also be missing a couple of their key contributors in Patrick Beverley and Serge Ibaka who have missed seven-games and six straight games. Not to mention the newly acquired point guard Rajon Rondo, who would be in street clothes on the Clippers bench.
When asked pregame about the keys to defending the 76ers and Ben Simmons, Clippers Head Coach Ty Lue said to me, “they needed to get back in transition, he’s a one-man fast break.” The 76ers came into this game leading the eastern conference with a 32-13 record, while the Clippers came into this matchup riding a 4-game winning streak to get to 30-16, which earned them third place in the West ranking.
As the game tipped offed the 76ers jumped on the Clippers quickly and built as much as a 10-point lead. Though the Clippers were able to climb back in the game and narrow the lead at the end of the half to a 1-point game 30-29. After taking the lead in the second quarter, the Clipper would not trail again in this ball game.
Kawhi Leonard would extend his streak of scoring 20 points or more, as he scored a team 28 points and also chipped in 4 rebounds and assists in addition to 3 steals. His second steal of the game was the 1,000th steal of his career. Leonard now becomes one of 21 active players with at least 1,000 career steals.
The Clippers would get assistance from multiple players tonight as they had 5 players in double digits, with 3 of those guys over 20 points. Leonard and George scored 28 and 24 points respectively while Terance Mann joined them by scoring 23 points against the 76ers. This was Mann’s third time in the past five games which he has eclipsed his season-high in points. While the Clippers have improved to 17-1 when scoring at least 120 points.
3/29/21 (29-16) Milwaukee Bucks vs (31-16) Los Angeles Clippers
Clippers are on a 5-game win streak against all playoff teams while the Bucks are trying to avoid a 3-game losing streak after winning 8 straight games. This is the second game of the season between these teams, as the Bucks squeaked out a win in Milwaukee. Keep in mind the Clippers are 16-6 in home games.
The Clippers would get a heroic effort from Ivica Zubac in his guarding of Giannis Antetokounmpo. Though Giannis finished with 32 points he shot under 50% from the floor on shots they welcomed from him. … They welcomed his shooting from the outside so they could control the paint and second-chance points, they dominated that category 25 by 6 in the game.
Without Patrick Beverley, Serge Ibaka, Paul George, and the newly signed Rajon Rondo this was a tremendous team victory. Zubac played tough contested defense on Giannis and the other stay locked on defense, and the Clippers had four players score at least 20 points tonight. Last March was the last time the Clippers had four players with at least 20 points was.
Kawhi Leonard scored his customary 24, only 2 points of his average while pulling down 9 rebounds and dishing out 8 assists. Marcus Morris scored a team-high 25 points paired with Reggie Jackson game who gave the Bucks 15 points in the 3rd quarter and finished with 20 points. Luke Kennard scored 11 of his season-high 21 points in the fourth quarter as the team seemingly turned to him to close the game out, when asked about that Luke said, “it definitely feels great! Just the confidence that everybody has in me and each other. It’s another part of something we’ve built; just getting comfortable and believing in other.”
Though the Bucks jumped out to a 38 to 26 lead after the first quarter, the Clippers went on the outscore the Bucks 103 to 67 throughout the remainder of
the game. This is the Clippers’ 11th game this season winning by at least 20 points which leads the NBA. Additionally, the Clippers held the Bucks below the recent to game average of 120.4 points, 50.3 rebounds, 25.7 assists, eight steals and 4.6 blocks per game while shooting 48.2% from the field rebounds and assists and shooting percentage. As they held them to 105 points, 32 rebounds, 28 assists whole only allowing them to shoot 46.9% from the field.
3/27/21 (15-31) Orlando Magic vs (32-16) Los Angeles Clippers
Though the Clippers held the Magic to 37 points in the first half which is the fewest number of points allowed in the first half this season. The lack of healthy bodies and fatigue may have set in on the Clippers. Outside Ivica Zubac recording his career-high 10th double-double and Nicolas Batum tying a season-high with 10 rebounds, there was not a lot to write home about in this game.
Paul George missed his second straight game because of right foot soreness. Marcus Morris Sr. (right calf contusion) did not play after scoring 25 points in Serge Ibaka (Back Spasms), Patrick Beverley Knee Soreness) and Rajon Rondo (right adductor soreness) has yet to play since being acquired from Atlanta last week. So the Clippers in their fifth game in seven nights against all but 1 playoffs team, seeming had a letdown. When asked about what he took away from the game Head Coach Ty Lue said, “I have to look at… in the first half I thought we should’ve been up by about 25 or 26 made some turnovers, and took some stupid shots…” Kawhi Leonard was much celebratory of the Magic, “The Magic played a great game they fought, they fought all night, got to give them credit!”
Next up is the much improved Denver Nuggets with whom they are fighting playoff seeding. The Clipper are currently one game up in the winner’s column so this game on Thursday is critical for the seeding! Hopefully, they will have their full complement players available sooner than later.
It’s been a fun week overall covering the team this week, they went 4-1, while missing some key players and seeing one of the team’s favorite players being traded. They got that point that belief will help them in crunch time and once the playoffs begin, I am eager to see how things play out the rest of the way. Kindly
share your thoughts on their recent trade and let us know if you think this improves the team’s ceiling. You can reach out to me on Twitter @whatsgoodnsport or forward any suggestions on what additional topics or angles you’d like to see discussed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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