LA Clippers-Utah Jazz Player Grades: L.A. search for rhythm
In a 96-94 loss to the Utah Jazz, the LA Clippers struggled to find reliable play from their bench and consistent intensity.
The LA Clippers turned their preseason performance around in a 104-98 win against the Toronto Raptors, bouncing back from a woeful 120-75 loss dealt to them by Kevin Durant‘s Golden State Warriors. It was needed, but the Clippers started slow again against the Utah Jazz, struggled on the boards (outrebounded 51-30), and Doc Rivers experimented with a host of lineups (specifically Wesley Johnson and Luc Mbah a Moute as the frontcourt to finish the game) to help lead to a 96-94 loss on Monday at Staples Center.
It was a game of runs to a fair extent. The Clippers were shaky early on with another dip in intensity and their defense struggled to rotate effectively, yet they came out firing in the second half to open the third quarter on a 16-0 run.
Heading into the fourth quarter, the game got messier. The Clippers’ bench was made to carry the bulk of the load, and small lineups struggled with turnovers and executing at both ends of the floor.
Before the small frontcourt duo of Johnson and Luc gave up a rebound off a missed free throw in the final seconds, Jamal Crawford‘s attempt to win the game was eradicated when Dante Exum made a stellar falling steal.
Well, the start was slow, the ending wasn’t pretty, and some of Doc’s lineups won’t cut it when games actually count. Then again, experimentation is what preseason is for, even though two small forwards playing at the four and five seems useless.
Let’s dive into some player grades of the key contributors to go into more depth about the team’s performance, starting with another look at Blake Griffin as his impressive comeback continues.
PF, Los Angeles Clippers
PG, Los Angeles Clippers
PG, Los Angeles Clippers
C, Los Angeles Clippers
SG, Los Angeles Clippers
One other benefit of Monday night’s game was the return of J.J. Redick, who only played 19 minutes, but scored nine points as he made three three-pointers to help the team’s cold shooting performance (a field goal percentage of 40 for the game).
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To continue their preseason, the LA Clippers will play the Portland Trail Blazers at Staples Center on Thursday at 10:30 PM ET.
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