Clippers Have a Happy Holiday
In what is being regarded as the biggest game of the season thus far, the Clippers were able to outlast their rivals from across the hall. The Clippers hung their hat on masterful performances on both sides of the ball. Kawhi’s offensive onslaught and Beverley’s defensive intensity proved too much for the struggling Lakers to overcome. Beverley single-handedly stopped LeBron’s finally attempt at a game tying three. After tipping the ball out of bounds, the call was reviewed and the Clippers were awarded possession, sealing the game provided they could make their FTs. This was the first game all season that the entire expected rotation was healthy, and it could not have ended in a better result. For more on this game, check out the full game recap here.
The luxury of a full roster would not last long. The Clippers would face the Utah Jazz at home without star big man, Montrezl Harrell (illness). With Harrell being known primarily for his energy around the rim, his absence was sure to be felt. However, the team does still have serviceable big men. Zubac was quick to seize the opportunity, posting 12pts and 9reb (7 offensive) in the first half. The bench unit turned to strength in numbers. JaMychal Green saw his first meaningful minutes since returning from injury. Patrick Patterson drew the task of back-up center. Landry Shamet’s scoring would be needed more than ever.
Heart over Height
As if having to fill Harrell’s 29 meaningful minutes per game wasn’t enough, Beverley sprinted straight to the locker room early in the 3rd quarter after taking a hard fall on his elbow. With Lou Williams’ struggles carrying over from last game, the Clippers would once again turn to strength in numbers to try to weather the storm against Utah. Shamet and McGruder were set to take a majority of the back court minutes down the stretch alongside Lou. That is, until Beverley returned to the game in the 4th quarter. Because of course he did. Oh, and lets not dismiss Pat blocking 6’7 Niang with the hand he hurt earlier in the contest. Stats aside, there’s not a player in the league that out-hustles and out-hearts Patrick Beverley night in and night out.
Killer Clippers vs Clippers Killer
A collection of killers from Los Angeles would deliver many deadly blows throughout the game. Six different Clippers scored in double figures, led by Paul George and Kawhi Leonard with 20 and 19 respectively. Shamet hit 4 threes including a four-point play. Nine of Zubac’s twelve rebounds were offensive. Not to mention they all came against Rudy Gobert. Beverley showed tremendous heart and battled through injury. None of it was enough however as one Jazz player in particular delivered the final blows in this one. Providing 6 out of 11 straight points late in the 4th quarter for Utah, Donavan Mitchell proved to be too much for the Clippers to handle. The rising star finished with 30 pts, 9 assists, and 7 rebounds to push the streaking Jazz over the Clippers 120-107.
A Look Ahead
The Clippers will hit the road for a quick, one game stop in Sactown. There, they will face a King’s squad only 1.5 games out of the playoff race before spending the rest of their week at home. All three teams heading to the Staples Center are also out of their perspective playoff races. These teams include the Pistons(11th) on Thursday, Grizzlies(12th) on Saturday, and Knicks(14th) on Sunday. Yet another week with three games in four nights will likely mean another infamous load management night from Kawhi on Sunday. Other than that, however, expect the Clippers to field their full rotation throughout the week in hopes to start finally building full, team chemistry.