The Clippers are 11-4 since the beginning of February, have moved into the eight place spot in the Western Conference, and are only 2.0 games back of fourth place New Orleans and a first-round home playoff series. Part of the improved play for the Clippers has been the emergence of pleasant surprise Montrezl Harrell, reports Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times.
“You just learn more and more about him as you coach him,” Clippers head coach Doc Rivers said. “You never know a guy until you coach a guy. When we got him, we looked at him as an energy guy, a guy that can play defense. That’s what he did everywhere he’s been. And then every practice he gets in, he keeps scoring. And scoring. And then we started thinking, ‘Maybe he can score a little bit.’ He’s been better than that. He’s been great.”
Harrell is averaging a career-high 10.3 points and shooting 63.1% from the field for the Clippers while only playing 16.2 minutes per game, and has improved upon those numbers lately, averaging 17.8 PPG in his last five games.
There is more news out of the Pacific Division:
- The Kings have officially been eliminated from playoff contention, leading Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee to analyze the team’s plan of attack in free agency this summer. Jones opines that while certain restricted free agents like Aaron Gordon, Rodney Hood, Julius Randle, and Clint Capela may be appealing, their current teams will all but assuredly match any reasonable offers the Kings may put on the table.
- Despite the season the Suns are battling through, veteran guard Troy Daniels believes that it’s still important to put in the work and stay professional, writes Scott Bordow of The Arizona Republic. Daniels also hopes to rub off on some of the younger guys on the team, saying, “It’s hard to stay motivated for games sometimes going through a season like this. (But) I think it’s something these young guys will learn. To survive in this league, even if you’re a lottery pick, you always have to be working on your game, tuning it up.”
- In another piece for The Sacramento Bee, Jones notes that he doubts a scenario where Garrett Temple leaves the Kings this offseason. Temple, who has an $8MM player option for next season, is unlikely to find more money on the open market, and has become an important locker room voice for a young Sacramento team.