The Clippers showed off championship potential in Tuesday’s win over the Lakers, writes Jovan Buha of The Athletic. Although it was opening night, the game featured playoff intensity as Montrezl Harrell, Lou Williams, LeBron James and Anthony Davis were each on the court for at least 36 minutes.
With all the talent on hand, Kawhi Leonard stood out as the best player on the court, Buha states. The Clippers’ bench held a 60-19 scoring advantage and their defense took over the game after a slow start.
“We got players on the team that want to play defense,” Leonard said of the Clippers, who were missing defensive stalwarts Paul George and Rodney McGruder. “We got some big bodies, we’re long. As long as we come out and be aggressive and play with our active hands, be in spots, it’s gonna be tough for people to score on us when it’s in a half-court. So, I guess, that’s just taking pride in our defense and wanting to win the ball game. Just got them a little flustered.”
There’s more Clippers news to pass along:
- Coach Doc Rivers made a surprise decision to start veteran forward Patrick Patterson, Buha adds in the same story. Patterson had been with the third unit in nearly every practice and scrimmage that was open to the media, but he delivered when Rivers called on him Tuesday. Buha notes that the Lakers adjusted their strategy in an attempt to take advantage of Patterson guarding Davis in the post, which slowed down the offense. Rivers has promised a flexible starting lineup, so Patterson’s role may change from game to game.
- Sources tell Chris Hayes of Yahoo Sports that George, who is recovering from offseason surgery on both shoulders, is expected to make his season debut in about three weeks. That matches an earlier report in which Rivers estimated that George will miss the season’s first 10 games.
- Patrick Beverley has been fined $25K for throwing a ball into the crowd late in Tuesday’s game, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic.