Friday, July 31, 2020

The main reason the Clippers lost to the Lakers on restart night and how they can beat the Lakers

ImageOn the night of the NBA restart, the Los Angeles Clippers lost to the Los Angeles Lakers 103-101. With the Clippers, missing their 2 six man candidates in Lou Williams and Montrezl Harrell, Kawhi Leonard and Paul George really had to step up and they did. Leonard had 28 points shooting 7-16 from the field, 3-4 from three, stealing the ball twice, and also blocking 2 shots in 33 minutes and George had 30 points shooting 11-17 from the field on 6-11 from beyond the arc with 5 rebounds and 3 steals.

This game began with players and coaches kneeling for the national anthem with arms locked including Doc Rivers locking his arms with Lakers Coach Frank Vogel and Anthony Davis in an act of social justice and step towards racial equality. The actual game itself started out sloppy with lots of questionable foul calls from Scott Foster and his crew. The Clippers had 13 fouls in the 1st quarter alone. Leonard, Morris, Zubac, Green, Noah, and Beverley each had 2 fouls at the end of the 1st. Also, with Beverley on a minutes limit, Reggie Jackson played 34 minutes and scored 10 points on 10 shots with 4 assists and 4 turnovers.

But, the main reason the Clippers lost this game was in the 3rd quarter. The Clippers were down by 12 at the end of the 1st, slowly came back to cut it down to 2 at halftime, and went on a big run in the 3rd. Paul George hit back to back threes and Kawhi hit a three and the Lakers called a timeout and that's when the downfall really started. PG had to come out the play before Leonard's three because of his 4th foul which was ultimately the reason the Clippers struggled.

Paul George was clearly the games best player as he continued to prove all of his haters wrong this game. Granted, Anthony Davis did have 34 points but shot 8-19 from the field and lived at the free throw line shooting 16-17 there. When the Lakers called that timeout, they were down by 11. There was 7:05 left in the 3rd which is a ton of time in the game but their run after the timeout really swung the whole momentum the Clippers built up from their flurry of threes. With PG sitting, LeBron James hit a three and Davis finished an alley-oop and the Lakers chipped away at the Clippers' lead. Then Leonard was subbed out and the Lakers cut it down to 1 heading into the 4th.

The Lakers went on a 14-3 run to start the 4th and left the Clippers playing catch up for a while. But, the Clippers did come back thanks to Patrick Beverley and Kawhi Leonard. The Clippers cut it down to a 4 point game with 2 minutes left when Doc Rivers surprisingly brought in Landry Shamet who has had a bad game up to this point shooting 1-8. Now it's understandable Doc wanted a shooter in for Marcus Morris who also struggled, but him putting in Shamet was not the right move. He probably would've been better off putting in Beverley who was hot in the 4th quarter. Anyways, Shamet turned the ball over when he entered. PG later hit a clutch three with 28 seconds left to tie it and then LeBron rebounded his own missed shot and finished it to take the lead. The Clippers had 1 last chance and it ended with PG tossing up a three which resulted in the Lakers winning.

Although the Clippers lost, there were a lot of positives from this game from them. They only lost by 2 with Harrell and Williams out, Beverley played ONLY 16 minutes (and did score 12 points), they had guys in foul trouble for a lot of the game and still managed to play aggressive, and players like Shamet, Zubac, Morris, and Jackson struggled when they all probably won't if playing the Lakers again. These are all things the Clippers can fix. One thing that could be worth noting for the Clippers is the substitutions made by Coach Doc Rivers. We know that Ivica Zubac doesn't usually play in the 4th quarter, but with Montrezl Harrell out we though we'd see more of him. We didn't. This may be because of how he struggled a bit with rebounding this game but Rivers doesn't usually play him anyways in crunch time when he should because the Clippers need rebounds (as showed by LeBron getting his own and making the game winning putback). Also it was strange that Doc continued to play Shamet when he was obviously struggling and play Reggie when he wasn't great in the 2nd half when Beverley played well in the 4th and when he didn't put in Terance Mann or Rodney McGruder at all. Other than those, Rivers coached well as he continued to fight for his team and did make nice calls with inserting Patterson and Green into lineups more who both played well. It was also nice to see  Amir Coffey and Joakim Noah contribute well in their limited minutes.

But, while some of the Clippers looked a bit rusty, Kawhi Leonard and Paul George didn't miss a beat which is a very good sign to see. With a few tweaks, the Clippers are bound to keep winning like they did before the season was suspended. The Clippers next play the Pelicans (who need to win to fight for that 8th playoff spot at) at 3PM PT.

Sunday, July 26, 2020

Lou Williams receives 10-day mandated quarantine and the Clippers vs Wizards Recap

On Thursday night rapper Jack Harlow posted a picture on Instagram with Clippers guard Lou Williams at the Magic City Gentlemen's club. At first, Harlow denied this picture was recent as he said he "reminiscing" because he missed Williams. After the picture blew up on social media, Lou admitted to league officials that he was at the club but he said he only stopped by to get food as he's said over the years that Magic City is also one of his favorite restaurants. Williams claims he was a Magic City for a short time and then left to go to his grandfather's funeral a day later.

With the 10-day quarantine Williams will have to miss the Clippers' final scrimmage game against the Kings and the first 2 regular season games against the Lakers and the Pelicans. He will be able to return on August 4th against the Suns. The Clippers will have to have players like Reggie Jackson, Landry Shamet, and Rodney McGruder step up in his absence. Terance Mann and Amir Coffey may also see some more playing time with him out.

In other news, Ivica Zubac and Landry Shamet have entered the bubble, Montrezl Harrell says he's coming back soon and Patrick Beverley is expected to return soon. Yesterday the Clippers beat the Wizards 105-100 after stellar performances by the 3rd string players. With Kawhi Leonard struggling as he scored 6 points going 3-16 from the field and 0-8 from 3 in 24 minutes and Paul George struggling as he scored 11 points on 10 shots and shot 1-4 from the free throw line, the Clippers needed others to step up and they did. Marcus Morris had 13 points on 5-9 shooting, Reggie Jackson had 10 points in 20 minutes, JaMychal Green had 9 points and 10 rebounds, Patrick Patterson had 16 points on 70% shooting along with 6 rebounds, Terance Mann had 13 points, 7 rebounds, and 4 assists, Amir Coffey had 13 points, and Rodney McGruder also had 13 points and 5 rebounds to go along with some clutch shots. Joakim Noah also had a great defensive game as he only scored 1 point but contributed with his 6 rebounds, 5 assists, and 5 blocks. In other words, the whole team stepped up when PG and Kawhi didn't play well and that's a great sign for the Clippers to see that they may have even more bench depth than we thought.

The Clippers face the Kings tomorrow at 1PM PT.

Friday, July 24, 2020

Lou Williams Leaves the NBA Bubble After Stellar Scrimmage Game

LA Clippers SG Lou Williams has left the NBA Orlando bubble due for excused personal reasons, LA Times' Andrew Grief reports.

This loss is crucial for the LA Clippers as he's the 3rd player they've lost in the bubble. Montrezl Harrell and Patrick Beverley are the other 2 and Ivica Zubac and Landry Shamet have yet to join the team in the Orlando bubble. Out of the Top 7 Clippers who play the most, Kawhi Leonard and Paul George are the only ones with the team in the Orlando bubble.

It's said that all of these players are coming to Orlando but Clipper fans encountered a scare yesterday as the NBA G-League Twitter posted that Jonathan Motley would be joining the Clippers in Orlando. This led many to think that Zubac or Harrell would not be going as Motley is another big man that would take their sport but Andrew Grief says that this is not accurate and the Clippers will be staying with their original 15-man roster.

The Clippers are now very short-handed with Williams leaving. It is still uncertain when these 5 players will come to the bubble so other role players like Reggie Jackson, Joakim Noah, and Rodney McGruder will have to step up during their absence. There also is a decent chance that the Clippers will not have the players out of the bubble for the first regular season game against the Lakers on July 30th as they have to spend 4-10 days in quarantine when re-entering the bubble if they were tested regularly while out of the bubble and if they were not tested regularly, they have to quarantine for 14 days. During the Clippers' 9 point win in their first scrimmage game against the Magic, Williams had 22 points on 53.8% shooting in just 16 minutes. He arguably played the best on the Clippers and looked very comfortable being back out there as it concluded that the NBA season suspension for coronavirus helped him.

The Clippers will give more playing time to guards like Terance Mann (who surprisingly only played 7 minutes against the Magic), Rodney McGruder, Amir Coffey, and Reggie Jackson (who has already been filling in for Beverley) due to Williams' absence. The Los Angeles Clippers will face the Washington Wizards tomorrow at 5 PM Pacific Time.

We hope all is well for Lou Williams and his family!

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Patrick Beverley leaves Orlando bubble day before Clippers' first game

LA Clippers PG Patrick Beverley has left the NBA Orlando bubble due to an "emergency personal matter", according to ESPN's Malika Andrews.

Beverley traveled with the Clippers since they left for Orlando on July 8th. He is now the second Clipper to leave the bubble and the 4th to not be in the bubble as of now.

Montrezl Harrell also left the bubble due to a family emergency involving his grandmother. Landry Shamet has yet to enter the bubble after his positive test for coronavirus and Ivica Zubac has yet to enter as well but they've both indicated on their Instagram stories they will be there soon. Marcus Morris recently joined and got in a day of practice with the team before their scrimmage against the Magic later today.

It's uncertain when these players will return to the bubble as the Clippers organization has kept quiet on their players entering the bubble as noted from Marcus Morris surprisingly practicing yesterday after there were no reports that he entered. In other words, he entered a couple days before practice, quarantined for those 2 days, and then was cleared to practice. These players have to spend 4-10 days in quarantine when re-entering the bubble if they were tested regularly while out of the bubble. If they were not tested regularly, they will have to quarantine for 14 days.

It looks like the Clippers won't have Harrell and Beverley for all 3 scrimmage games and maybe even the first regular season game of the season restart on July 30th against the Lakers. As for Zubac and Shamet, we're still unsure on their status as they may have entered the bubble already but the Clippers could be keeping quiet on it like they did with Morris. The Clippers will play today's first scrimmage game short-handed likely starting Reggie Jackson in at Point Guard for Beverley and Joakim Noah at Center as he is currently the team's only Center.

Lastly, Head Coach Doc Rivers has hinted they may not want to play key players like Kawhi Leonard or Paul George much during scrimmage games which is understandable. Doc Rivers and the Clippers want to be completely healthy with their full squad for the 8 regular season games and more importantly, the playoffs.

We hope all is well for Patrick Beverley and his family and Montrezl Harrell and his family.