TNLP got a chance to see the Clippers in action on Saturday during the second weekend of the 2010 NBA Summer League in Las Vegas. It wasn't pretty and I'm not sure if it's better to see a 15 point loss or a loss by a last second shot. Either way, I'll do my best to recap what happened with some interesting pictures from the Clippers' perspective (for the Spurs' perspective, be sure to check out Jeff Garcia's recap at Project Spurs).
It was also a good sign seeing Blake Griffin back out on the court shooting around with the team before the game. He's at 100% health right now so let's hope that he stays that way this season.
As the game began, the Clippers looked to get DeAndre Jordan started early by getting him the ball on nearly every possession to start the game. It led to a number of isolation plays on the block. He finished a number of them, including a nice drive and dunk from the baseline.
However, outside of Jordan's offense, the Clippers were unable to get much going in the first half outside of some scoring from Jeremy Richardson, and defensively, the team continually gave up outside shots to the Spurs' Alonzo Gee (who had 20 points for the game) and 22 points in the paint. The Clippers also received little help from their 2003 draft pick Sofoklis Schortsanitis as he mishandled the ball and was unable to keep the Spurs out of the paint on his own.
The score at the half was 39-26 in favor of the Spurs.
The Clippers looked good at the start of the second half with a 3-pointer by Aminu and a solid drive to the hoop on the proceeding possession. The Clippers also looked to push the tempo, utilizing Eric Bledsoe's speed to get the ball up the court. However, it led to a number of turnovers (a common occurrence for the Clippers in Summer League) and sloppy plays and the Clippers just couldn't get their offense going. Outside of a few scores by Willie Warren, the Clippers went on a drought and found themselves down 56-41 after 3.
The lead was pushed to 61-42 with 8 minutes left to go but the Clippers were ignited by a big shot block by Sofo on a dunk attempt which led to a 6-0 run for the Clippers.
Just when it looked like the Clippers were going to make it a close game, the Clippers began to fall apart as they continually missed free throws and struggled to score, even when Jordan returned with 4:30 left in the game.
Aminu continued to run the break well but also continued to miss free throws and on one possession, played good perimeter defense but made a rookie error by biting on a pump fake by the Spurs' Curtis Jerrells.
Aminu did have 16 points and was a bright spot for the Clippers as they fell to the Spurs 77-62. The Clippers also lost the following game as mentioned and went 1-4 during their 5 games in Las Vegas.
It's difficult to say how the Clippers are going to be, and how they're going to look once the season begins but a number of things are still in the air. Dave wrote about the compatibility between the Clippers and Tracy McGrady, Al-Farouq Aminu doesn't appear to be ready to step into a starting role and is still transitioning from being a 4 to a 3, and the Clippers sign a handful of Minnesota Timberwolves. No matter what happens, we'll keep you updated.
- Sofo is BIG. He moves extremely well for a guy his size and looks a lot bigger in person. I felt fortunate to finally see him play. It could very well be my first and last. The re-signing of Craig Smith means Sofo probably won't be suiting up in a Clippers uniform next season.
- (Former?) Assistant coach John Lucas was in the building.
Photo Credit: Lisa Woo
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