In another rough finish, the Clippers stumbled in the fourth quarter en route to a loss in Boston Tuesday night. Let’s check out how it all shook out in our Clippers vs Celtics player grades.
Clippers Starter Grades
Patrick Beverley: B. If the Clippers had Kawhi Leonard (or gotten a better collection of offensive production from elsewhere, Pat’s grade here would look better. Good defense, 8 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, 2 blocks. A nice gluey performance. But with Leonard sidelined, Morris picking up an injury, Lou Williams struggling, and Paul George going cold… look, I get it’s not Pat’s game to be a volume scorer, but a little more aggression than 3 shot attempts in 27 minutes was called for here.
Reggie Jackson: A. For a guy who learned he’d be starting when he heard his name called during introductions, Reggie sure took it in stride. With 25 points on a hyper-efficient 10-14 shooting, he brought the punch that LAC needed to stay in the game offensively with a couple of their bigger guns sidelined.
Paul George: B+. Despite the final minute of the game resting pretty squarely on the shoulders of George’s decision-making, I feel like I have to give a B+ here to acknowlege that this was still an above-average game for PG, who put up 32 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 assists despite having a rough night from 3 (5-15). If he had caught fire, it could have been a huge game. As it was, it was still a good one, even though he settled for poor shots in the closing minutes. At least he was squandering chances to get back into the game after the bench fell behind early in the fourth, instead of blowing a lead himself.
Nicolas Batum: B. Similar to Bev, this was by no means a bad individual performance from Nic, who finished with 10 points, 5 rebounds, and 3 assists. And I can’t even complain that I would have liked to see Morris’ firepower in the game more, since Marcus was ruled out of the second half with a concussion. Nonetheless, these kinds of in-the-margins contributions are a lot more meaningful when you win.
Serge Ibaka: C. At least Nic and Pat aren’t expected to make well-rounded contributions rather than be scorers–Serge should be a shoe-in for double figure scoring on a night when LAC is down a star. Just 7 points on 3-9 from the field ain’t gonna cut it. In a game that featured Serge, Ivica Zubac, Tristan Thompson, Daniel Theis, and Robert Williams, Serge should be the highest-scoring big man. Instead, he had the lowest total of those five guys.
Clippers Bench Player Grades
Lou Williams: C+. I try to be fairly consistent on here in recognizing that all I can ask of guys is that they play their game, take their shots, and make a good enough percentage over time–hot and cold nights are going to happen to everyone. This was a cold one for Lou, but I didn’t think it was a disastrous performance by any means as he finished with 12 points on 13 shots and 4 assists. You’ll live with this as his bad night considering how good he’s been of late.
Ivica Zubac: A-. People will want to point to Williams’ big night as a mark against Zu, but actually Williams mostly did his damage in space behind Zubac when the Clippers had big Zu step up and hedge against Jayson Tatum screens and dare the Celtics to dump the ball in to the young big man. Williams made them pay with 13 points on 4-5 shooting and 4 assists, but that wasn’t Zu’s fault–Zu deserves credit for helping limit Tatum to 14 points on 5-16 shooting. Zu also led the team with 10 rebounds, 5 of which were offensive, and added 8 points and 3 assists to the offensive effort. It was a really nice overall game for Zu.
Terance Mann: D. The infusion of energy just wasn’t the same for Mann tonight as it had been in other contests of late, and as a result he ended up bringing essentially nothing to the team. He did pick up a few assists, but he was scoreless, bad on defense, and didn’t even grab a single rebound in 20 minutes. Considering his run of form lately, you have to just shrug your shoulders and accept that a stinker was eventually inevitable, but hopefully Terance can make this performance an aberration and pick things up Thursday.
Marcus Morris: B+. Morris was having a nice outing providing some scoring off the bench, with 10 points on 4-7 shooting in 15 minutes, before he was ruled out for the remainder of the game with a concussion. There isn’t much to say about his brief time in this one except he was playing his normal game, and playing well. Hopefully he feels better quickly and can be back in the lineup after the All-Star Break.
Luke Kennard did get 5 minutes of second-half action, but I don’t feel like assigning a grade for such a small shift when he both didn’t do much and was playing out of position in a weird, 4-guard lineup. Mfiondu Kabengele was the Clippers’ sole unused substitute. Amir Coffey was still with the Agua Caliente Clippers in the G-League’s Orlando bubble for this game, though I assume he will be recalled for Thursday’s final pre-All Star contest. Patrick Patterson remains out due to personal reasons. Kawhi Leonard was a last-minute scratch with back spasms. Daniel Oturu and Jay Scrubb are both still recovering from injuries as well.
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