Well it’s never fun to be on the wrong end of blowout, especially during an exhibition game. The LA Clippers (0-2) fell victim to a 27% shooting night from the field as the Portland Trail Blazers got hot from deep at the right time to put this one away in the third, 86-66. It was about the opposite of the Summer Clippers’ first game as they started off with the right energy and ball movement, and then faded as the game wore on. Four different Blazers (2-0), which included the veteran trio of Emmanuel Mudiay, Kobi Simmons and Antonio Blakeney, paced Portland with double-digit scoring while LA just couldn’t find a consistent rhythm throughout the contest.
Clippers vs. Trail Blazers Game Notes
- Keon Johnson: While an eight point, 3-for-14 shooting box score line would suggest that tonight was more of the same for the Clippers’ first-round pick, half of Johnson’s attempts came in garbage time with the game already out of reach. Regardless, Johnson’s stroke from distance still left a lot to be desired, along with his struggles to finish in traffic. What was nice to see from Johnson, aside from his endless energy, was the passing that he, as stated previously, himself feels is a bit underrated. Johnson somehow manifested a team-high six assists, including connecting with Brandon Boston Jr. for a pair of treys, as well as a terrific half-court lob to Kerwin Roach II.
- Jason Preston: It was another quiet game for the birthday boy, who finished with two rebounds and two assists in just 13:33 of action. At the time of writing, it is unclear why Preston played so little. He seemed able to compete on both ends against a Blazer team with much less athleticism compared to what Milwaukee trotted out on Monday, so much so that he was able to attempt a floater in the paint. On the bright side, his creativity and vision as a passer were apparent in the few minutes he was out there, even though the stats don’t suggest it.
- Brandon Boston Jr.: Boston Jr. was perhaps the Clippers’ best player in the first half of this one, showcasing a ton of versatility in bringing the ball up, curling off of screens and playing solid defense for the most part. He looked very comfortable as a catch-and-shoot shooter once again. On three different drives, Boston Jr. was called for a charge on Kenneth Faried and was blocked by Faried, but also found Daniel Oturu for a lob towards the end. Ultimately, his decision-making near the paint continues to need some work. There was also a play where Boston Jr. got stuck in no man’s land under the basket and gave up three looks at the rim to George King, so the all the stuff about him needing to develop some strength remains true.
- Amir Coffey: It was another forgettable, frustrating night for the third-year wing, who just could not buy a bucket from anywhere on the floor. As mentioned by Rob after last night’s game, Coffey is mainly struggling with taking on a workload that he’s usually not leaned on for, which could explain why his offensive rhythm has been so off. The boards and defense on Michael Beasley were good, which was the main thing that he needed to show off coming to Vegas—the ability to play the four—but the inability to recreate what he’s been solid at in knocking down threes, as well as getting ejected due to frustration, have been tough to see.
- Jay Scrubb: Scrubb finished with a team-high 15 points, but got there on 4 of 20 shooting from the field. The concerns about his ability to do little else besides scoring right now were paramount tonight as he wasn’t able to get his shot to drop for most of the game. Scrubb did play very hard, however, and once again showed off some explosiveness, which is great to see, en route to 10 boards.
- Daniel Oturu: Do I dare say that Daniel Oturu was the best Clipper on the floor tonight? Well he was. The second-year center had 11 points (5-9 FG), 13 boards and a game-high five blocks. Aside from airballing a top-of-the-arc early shot clock three, Oturu was consistently active around the rim on both ends with some tough finishes and recovering contests. After picking up six fouls Monday, Oturu had just one called on him tonight.
- The Others: For a couple of guys looking to earn some opportunities anywhere in the NBA, Isaiah Hicks and Kerwin Roach II were super solid once again for LAC. It seems as if both guys just never make mistakes, which is exactly what you hope to see from more seasoned players in SL. Both were unselfish, deferring to the open man, but also aggressive when needed. Meanwhile, Jordan Ford showed the burst to drive and kick, but was mainly a secondary ball-handler which seemed to fair better for him tonight.
The Clippers will have two days off before matching up with the Los Angeles Lakers at the Thomas & Mack Center for their third game of the 2021 NBA Summer League Friday, Aug. 13, at 7 p.m. PT.
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