The Clippers enjoyed their trip to Hawaii both on and off the court, writes Broderick Turner of The Los Angeles Times. L.A. split a pair of games with the Raptors, and the players believe the experience helped to unify a team that lost Chris Paul, J.J. Redick and Jamal Crawford over the summer.
There was good news regarding star forward Blake Griffin, who was able to play without any lingering effects from surgery on his right big toe in May. Milos Teodosic showed off the passing that made him highly sought after in Europe, Patrick Beverley brought the hard-nosed defense that was his calling card in Houston and Lou Williams showed he can replace Crawford’s scoring off the bench. Also, the Lob City swagger lives on without Paul. “I don’t think we ever lost that,” said DeAndre Jordan. “We’ve got guys who can make passes like that. We’ve got myself, Blake, Willie [Reed], Montrezl [Harrell], guys like that rolling and able to play above the rim.”
There’s more tonight from Los Angeles:
- The only bad news for the Clippers is on the injury front, Turner adds. Austin Rivers “is going to be out for a while” after straining a right gluteal muscle in the first game, said coach Doc Rivers.
- Veteran center Andrew Bogut believes his young Lakers teammates can benefit from his experience, relays Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN. Bogut signed a one-year, partially guaranteed deal with the Lakers last month as he tries to prove he can come back from a tibia fracture he suffered in March. He is projected as a backup to Brook Lopez, one of the few veterans on the squad. “I have been through pretty much everything in this league, especially injury-wise, and been on championship teams, winningest teams, crappiest teams, teams with a lot of turnovers,” Bogut said. “I have seen everything.”
- Rookie point guard Lonzo Ball has already become the face of the Lakers, writes Tim Bontemps of The Washington Post. The team has a lot invested in the overall No. 2 pick, who impressed his older teammates with his performance in camp. L.A. has lost at least 55 games in each of the past four seasons and needs the 19-year-old to emerge as a leader. “The way he plays the game of basketball, everywhere he goes … if he went to a rec center, people would follow him because he makes people better,” said coach Luke Walton. “That’s what great leaders do.”