It was a night where Los Angeles led from the jump, much having to do with a career-night in passing the ball, as the Clippers totaled 31 assists which in the end led to another win in dominant fashion, demolishing the Sacramento Kings 122-95, Tuesday night at Staples Center.
“I think today was just a good team win,” said Clippers guard Lou Williams who had 21 points on on seven-for-eleven shooting, three-for-four on three-pointers.
“Guys are playing free and with a lot of confidence, I think we’re starting to get to that point of the season where you’re starting to know your teammates, everyone’s trusting each other, tonight was one if of those nights where it showed.”
In only his sixth game since returning from injury, 30-year-old rookie point guard Milos Teodosic matched a Clippers season-high and career-high in assists with 10, adding 8 points as well.
“Whenever he’s being aggressive offensively and then also finding other guys for easy baskets, we’re really dangerous,” said Clippers center DeAndre Jordan who added 13 points and 15 rebounds.
“You know he’s just getting back into the groove of things, you know when he’s out there playing at a high level it just boosts our team up.”
Jamil Wilson, who is on a two-way contract, scored a career-high 17 points on six-for-nine shooting, making four-of-five three-point attempts in the first quarter alone.
Wilson reached his 40th day of his two-way contract Tuesday night, as the cut off for the contract is a 45-day limit, where the Clippers are now forced with the option to convert his deal to a minimum-salaried NBA contract or simply send him back to the Agua Caliente Clippers of Ontario.
It is not an easy decision Los Angeles, as players like Wilson and guard CJ Williams, are playing so well and Clippers coach Doc Rivers acknowledged that tough-decisions may lie ahead.
“It’s gonna be tough like I said before, I won’t tell you our plan but they aren’t great,” added Rivers referring to his two-way players in Wilson and Williams.
“We don’t have a lot of good options there, we have to play them right now because we need them and they’re playing great. The fact that you could possibly lose them would hurt, but that probably or possibly could happen.”
Los Angeles put the game away early in the second quarter, outscoring Sacramento 41-23, giving themselves an 18 point lead at the end of the first half.
The Clippers totaled a season-high 71 points after the two quarters, where in large part was due to a great performance from their second unit.
Montrezl Harrell led all scorers with 22 points, adding 7 rebounds, and 3 assists in his 22 minutes of play.
Sam Dekker was solid off the bench as well, adding 10 points and 6 rebounds, while Sindarius Thornwell active all over the floor with 8 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists, and 4 steals in only 22 minutes.
The Clippers bench accounted for 70 of the 122 points scored and even outscored the starters, as they only posted 52 points, which allowed more minutes for the reserves.
“They’re gonna come in and play hard,” said Clippers coach Doc Rivers when talking about the contributions from his second unit.
“We’re running stuff for them that is more ball-movement and cuts, you know they have kind of figured that part out and scoring happens, it’s strange with this group because I can’t tell you who’s gonna score but it just happens through the ball movement and they’ve adopted that, they got a good little chemistry going.”
It was possible that the Clippers win wasn’t even the best news of the day, due to an update on their star franchise player.
Before the game, Doc Rivers told media that Blake Griffin might be able to play against the Lakers on Friday night after sitting out 14 games because of a knee injury.
His knee injury at the time was supposed to sideline Griffin for two months, while his updated return date could be possibly only days away.
“I hope he comes back Friday, it would huge for us,” added Jordan. “Blake is one of our leaders of our team, he’s the backbone of our team, our offensive leader, he’s everything to us so we definitely miss him.”