The basketball was good tonight, folks.
Led for the second straight game by Blake Griffin, the Los Angeles Clippers stayed perfect tonight and improved their record to 2-0 as they absolutely crushed the Phoenix Suns, 130-88. Griffin didn’t play in the fourth quarter with the result decided, and finished with 29 points, 8 rebounds, and 4 assists in 28 minutes. He was a hyper-efficient 7-13 from the field and 3-5 from beyond the arc, while converting 12 of his 14 free throw attempts. DeAndre Jordan played his role well, with 6 points and 13 rebounds.
Patrick Beverley was also tremendous early in the game before resting for much of the second half, adding 15 points, 2 assists, 2 rebounds, and 5 steals on 6-8 shooting in 26 minutes. Lou Williams picked up where Beverley left off, extending the Clippers’ lead in the second-half with 18 points, 6 assists, and 3 rebounds. Much of Williams’ production was in conjunction with backup center Willie Reed, who had an exceptional 12-point, 4-rebound performance on 6-6 shooting in just 13 minutes. Reed also took two charges.
Danilo Gallinari and Austin Rivers continued to struggle with their scoring efficiency, but both showed some signs of life tonight. Rivers was just 2-7 from the field for 5 points, but he contributed with 4 assists, running the pick-and-roll well and finding the Clippers’ big men for lob dunks. Gallinari was 4-14 from the field, but hit three threes and added 8 rebounds to go with his 12 points.
Starting guard Milos Teodosic exited the game in the first half with an apparent left foot injury. While X-Rays were negative, he will have an MRI Sunday in Los Angeles. He was carried off of the court and was in a walking boot following the game.
The Clippers’ normal rotation is rounded out by Wesley Johnson, who had a solid but unspectacular game of 3 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 steals.
In the second half with the game decided, the rest of the Clippers got some opportunities to impress Doc Rivers and the fans in attendance at STAPLES Center. Sam Dekker had 7 points, 2 rebounds, and 2 assists while fellow former Rocket Montrezl Harrell had a couple big dunks and a highlight block to make his presence felt. Rookie Sindarius Thornwell added 8 quick points and 2 steals, showing himself as a capable finisher in traffic, while second-year forward Brice Johnson had 6 points and 4 rebounds, hitting a couple of nice shots but struggling to compete physically on defense.
A full recap and analysis will be coming from Clips Nation writer Kenneth Armstrong.