The Clippers moved closer to their scheduled starting lineup on Wednesday, with Paul George making his 2021-22 debut. And for a half the home team had a good thing. But the Clippers rested their veterans in the second half, allowing the Kings of Sacramento to get away with a 113-98 victory.
The first glimpse of an NBA-worthy Clippers lineup began with a number of brick threes. Unfortunately, the Kings, powered by De’Aaron Fox, were more precise and the first three and a half minutes saw the Clippers widen to a 12-2 deficit.
However, switching to simple actions – a slightly contested mid-range shot from Reggie Jackson, a workout from Eric Bledsoe to dump for the easy layup from Ivica Zubac and an insane lopsided baseline fade from George – slowed down slightly. bleeding.
After a quarter of action, the Clippers found themselves down 28-22. With a more aggressive defense and better assists, the Clippers quickly equalized at 36 each four minutes into the second quarter. A free throw from Terance Mann gave the Clippers their first lead of the game with 7:05 left in the first half.
George’s shot was on display, making contested crossfades after contested crossfades. Mann also showed a distinct knack for drawing fouls and reaching the free throw line. Both wings have shown an ability to slow down play and score points on the board, apparently on demand.
Aggression and Bledsoe’s ability to come down were also undoubtedly part of the game plan in the first half and will obviously be a reliable cog in the Clippers’ offense this season. Bledsoe continued to pick up the pace throughout the game, bringing up a number of pseudo-quick breaks with his speed.
With 43 seconds left at halftime, Brian Sieman made his first pun with Amir Coffey. It’s good to see Sieman already in good shape mid-season.
A few minutes of playing time and a little more back and forth later, the match entered at halftime tied 51-51.
Isaiah Hartenstein once again showed his vision and his ability to go beyond. He recorded three assists in just nine minutes, including a particularly astute penny for Luke Kennard at the start of the second quarter. Harry Giles also showed off his athleticism and attacking mastery during his minutes in the second half, including a smooth attacking streak with six minutes left in the third.
If the first half was a preview of the 2021-22 Clippers’ season, the second half was a vision of the future. The starting lineup (and all rotation) in the second half saw the Clippers’ usual rotation replaced by a group of youngsters, such as Brandon Boston Jr., Kennard, Jay Scrubb, Coffey and Giles.
The combination of Fox’s speed and 3-point shot made his save a particular challenge for the Clippers throughout the game. And after some three from Buddy Hield in the third quarter, the Kings took a ten-point lead, 74-64. The Kings continued to impress as the lead climbed to twenty-one by the end of the third.
Boston looked eager to stay aggressive, even though they didn’t see the field in the first half. Three at the start of the second half, as well as a few outrageous (albeit failed) dunk attempts are proof enough. After a few more jumpers off the dribble and a personal eight-point run at the very end of the game, Boston finished the game with 20 of 19 shots in 24 minutes.
Keon Johnson also played his first (hopefully many) minutes and scored his first point, with a free throw, in the official Clippers squad.
The Clippers continued to respond to the Kings’ hot shots with bad shots, and ultimately called for a timeout with nine minutes to go when they found themselves on the wrong side of a 101-74 blowout. The rest of the game went more or less the same, culminating in a final score of 113-98.