The Los Angeles Clippers were good last season. They finished 49-23, were 5th in Defensive Rating, 2nd in Offensive Rating and 2nd Net Rating overall. The playoffs, well… they were really good in the regular season. This season, after losing the reigning sixth-man-of-the-year in Montrezl Harrell there was some concern about the make up of the team. More unknowns than concerns. It’s taken a few games for these Clippers to come together, which should have been expected considering the shortened preseason, but now they look to have arrived! Players look comfortable in their roles and things are clicking. These Clippers look really, really good. Maybe better than last season and when you consider how last season ended for the Clippers – they better be better!
Star of the Game
Tonight, it was stars. Marcus Morris Sr. and Luke Kennard both had Clipper highs with 20 pts each. When you consider that they are both coming off the bench it harkens back to last season when Lou Williams and Harrell both averaged close to 18ppg. Morris and Kennard are not likely to put up these kind of numbers every night and in this team, they don’t need to. Regardless, it was good to see both rounding into form.
Special mention to Patrick Patterson who is the basketball equivalent of a baseball pinch-hitter. He can sit for days, but when he’s called on he dusts off the uniform, goes in, and makes threes!
There is always a concern when a player is out. Tonight, it was Lou Williams (due to injury/illness) and Serge Ibaka, who has proven to be a key piece on this team thus far. Ibaka’s absence was a bit troubling because of what we weren’t told. All we know is it was not due to COVID, which is good to hear. Whatever it is, hope all is well for Ibaka and we see him and Lou back on the court soon. Aside from that, no major concerns when you win big!
Landry Shamet was a surprise for the Clippers last season. He showed flashes of incredible potential and will forever live in Clippers lore after hitting one of the biggest shots in Clippers playoff history. I for one was bummed to see him go in favor of Luke Kennard. So far however, you can see why the Clippers front office pulled the trigger on that trade Kennard is averaging 8.5 ppg while shooting 50% from deep while Shamet is struggling a bit with the Nets. He is averaging 5.4 ppg and only 30% from deep. It’s silly to evaluate trades early, time will tell how this one ended up for both franchisees. At this point though, the Clippers look to have gotten the better end of the deal. Kennard’s 20 points was a surprise tonight, I have a feeling output like this will be more and more common.
Sacramento Kings, Wednesday, January 20th
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