After a late start and a long layoff, the Summer Clippers were finally back in action tonight for their second game of the Las Vegas Summer League, where they fell to the Los Angeles Lakers 83-72
The Lakers were led by Mason Jones, who played briefly with them on a two-way contract last season and contributed 15 points, 10 rebounds, and 4 assists tonight. After being tied 62-62 at the end of the third quarter, the Clippers’ offense sputtered in the fourth as they scored just 10 points. Over the course of the game, LAC struggled with offensive efficiency, particularly from the free throw line, where they earned an impressive 33 attempts due to aggressive driving but only converted 20. The Summer Clippers are now 1-1 halfway through their four preliminary games (every team will get a 5th game, schedule TBD). Here’s the scouting report on key contributors:
- Moussa Diabate was probably the Clippers’ best player again, with 9 points and 8 rebounds on 4-6 from the field. He was once again active defensively and on the glass, and scored in a variety of ways, including a corner three in the first half. Like most of the team, it felt like he faded a bit in the second half (LAC won the first half 46-43 and lost the second 40-26). He did have a minor scare in the fourth quarter after an awkward collision with Jay Scrubb left him limping a bit, but he stayed in the game.
- Jason Preston repeated his game 1 performance, showing well as a floor general in the first half before a more anonymous second half. He had 4 assists to 1 turnover before halftime, and 0 assists and 2 turnovers after. Both he and Xavier Moon seemed to not get the ball as much in the second half as the Clippers went away from what had been working for them so far in Vegas, and it can sometimes be hard to fully delineate what’s a lack of assertiveness/control from a point guard vs what’s a lack of discipline/awareness from his semi-pro Summer League teammates who haven’t had a lot of time together. Much like I said after Saturday’s opener, I would love to see him bottle the poise from this one’s first quarter and give us a full game of it.
- Brandon Boston’s game was a bit of a mixed bag. From a game analysis perspective, he was kind of brutal, shooting just 3-12 from the field with really poor finishing around the basket. The Clippers lost this game because their offense stalled, and Brandon’s inefficiency on relatively good attempts was probably the biggest piece of that equation. From a scouting perspective, though, I found his play pretty encouraging. We know that he’s a gifted offensive player who is capable of making a wide variety of jumpshots, and I had said coming into Summer League that what I really wanted to see from him was using his body to get into the paint and make reads. Well, he got to the rim a lot tonight, earning 12 free throw attempts (which I believe is more than he has ever had in NCAA, Summer League, pre-season, G-League, or NBA play). And I actually liked a lot of his drives and the way he used his improved-but-still-not-enough strength to get into strong finishing positions that he couldn’t quite take advantage of. They call them growing pains for a reason, and while tonight was definitely pains, in his overall development as a player I think there’s growing going on too.
- Jay Scrubb had a similar night to Boston in the box score (15 points on 4-11 shooting, 6-9 from the free throw line), but the eye test was a little less kind. He did have several successful scoring drives that were legitimately good moves, but on the whole it seemed like most of his touches were just driving hard left with his head down and lunging wildly into contact to either get an acrobatic finish or some free throws. That’s a good enough Plan A that it’s brought him to this point in his career, but it hasn’t been enough to impress at the Summer League level the last two years and I’m not seeing encouraging signs of him developing any Plan B. Where Boston missed a lot of good shots that are a bit outside his comfort zone as he tries to expand his game, Scrubb seemed to miss a lot of bad shots that are well within his comfort zone, and he wound up with 4 turnovers as well.
- Xavier Moon played with the poise on-ball that you would expect from him and had a nice non-scoring game with 5 assists, 5 rebounds, a steal, and 0 turnovers in 24 minutes. The problem is that he just had an absolute stinker shooting the ball, going 0-8 and not scoring on the night. In the grand scheme of things, this feels more like just “a bad shooting night” than anything meaningful, especially since he got to some of his comfortable spots on the floor, though his physical and athletic limitations restricting his ability to get a steady stream of clean, comfortable looks up is certainly a cap on his NBA ceiling. Overall, I think his poor shooting night says was a major reason why the Clippers lost this game, but doesn’t necessarily say a lot about him as a player from a scouting perspective. It was also interesting to see Shaun Fein play Moon and Preston together in both halves, but particularly for an extended shift to close the game in a four-guard lineup alongside Scrubb and Boston.
- The Clippers’ exhibit 10 players once again featured sparingly. Lucas Williamson saw just four first-half minutes in the 10th man role, grabbing a couple of steals and hitting a three, but also missing a couple of shots and turning the ball over. Michael DeVoe was a DNP after being in that 10th man role on Saturday, and Justin Bean was out of the rotation for the second game in a row. You never know, but the Clippers playing multiple free agents ahead of these three guys that they have under contract seems to suggest that they might not even make it to training camp, let alone opening night.
- Speaking of free agents, Jarrell Brantley had another good performance as the starting power forward but barely played in the second half. With 6 points on 2-3 three-point shooting, 1 rebound, 3 assists, 2 steals, and 2 blocks in 15 minutes, he was the only Clipper with a positive +/-. Cameron Reynolds made a couple of nice plays as a bench forward, finishing with 8 points, 3 rebounds, and 2 steals on 3-4 shooting. Reggie Perry had a more pedestrian second game in the backup center position with 7 points and 2 rebounds on 3-7 shooting in 14 minutes, forcing some ill-advised looks. Keaton Wallace had an entirely forgettable 15 minutes of play, missing his only shot and recording no stats aside from two fouls. Isiah Brown and Trey McGowens both didn’t play after having just a few minutes of garbage time on Saturday.
The Clippers continue Summer League play with their third game tomorrow night against the Denver Nuggets at 7pm Pacific. The game is in the Thomas & Mack Center for fans in Vegas and on NBATV for those of us watching from home. The team hasn’t given a public indication yet as to whether or not they’ll play all of their guys tomorrow on the second night of a back-to-back. From a fan perspective, of course, we hope that the big three of Preston, Boston, and Diabate will all play again, but it both makes sense that the team may want to protect their key prospects’ health (especially Diabate with his minor scare tonight) and would give them an opportunity to let some of the guys we haven’t seen much of get some playing time in front of all of the scouts.
As far as Summer League standings go, the Clippers came into today as one of 5 teams without a loss yet. Four of those five played today, and all four lost, leaving the Utah Jazz as the sole undefeated team remaining at 2-0. In order to have a chance at finishing in the top 2 and making the championship game, the Summer Clippers will need to win their last two games to get into what will likely be a multi-team tie at 3-1 that will be decided by point differential. The Clippers and Jazz finish preliminary play against each other on Friday afternoon, so in any scenario where LAC is even in the conversation, there will be no undefeated teams remaining and two spots for 3-1 squads.
213Hoops is an independently owned and operated L.A. Clippers blog by Clippers fans, for Clippers fans. If you enjoy our content, please consider subscribing to our Patreon. Subscriptions start at $1 a month and support from readers like you goes a long way towards helping us keep 213Hoops sustainable, growing, and thriving.