Russell Westbrook’s Clippers debut price Terance Mann minutes
Kawhi Leonard referred to as it “ridiculous.”
Russell Westbrook referred to as it “crazy.”
His new coach with the Clippers, Tyronn Lue, referred to as it a efficiency that left him “intrigued by what I saw” — and simply as galled by what he didn’t.
Terance Mann referred to as it nothing out of the abnormal — one other position change in a profession, and season, filled with them.
Call it, formally, the second-highest-scoring recreation in NBA historical past, Westbrook’s Clippers debut coinciding with Kawhi Leonard at his most offensive and most sturdy in latest reminiscence.
But Friday’s 176-175 Clippers loss to Sacramento in double extra time was additionally a reminder of how a lot work stays for the staff to achieve the championship stage they aspire to, and the way little time there’s to get there.
The Clippers obliterated the franchise’s document for factors regardless of having solely two practices and one shoot-around underneath their belt with their new additions to the roster, and held leads of 14 factors with 3 minutes 58 seconds remaining within the fourth quarter, six with 3:04 left within the first extra time and 6, once more, with 1:46 remaining within the second extra time. And they nonetheless misplaced after committing 25 turnovers and watching Malik Monk rating 45 factors off of the Kings’ bench and De’Aaron Fox add 42.
In a key matchup in opposition to a staff one spot forward of the Clippers within the standings, Lue confirmed how deep his belief for Westbrook, the previous most precious participant, runs by taking part in him the ultimate seven minutes of the fourth quarter, all the first extra time and the primary three minutes of the second, till Westbrook fouled out with 17 factors, 14 assists and 7 turnovers. Paul George stated Westbrook’s aggression, which led to simple baskets, was simply what the staff wanted from a lead guard.
“He pulled out a lot of games in his career, you know, and so I thought what hurt us was their ball pressure, getting up the floor, picking up full court,” Lue stated when requested why he leaned on Westbrook so usually late within the recreation. “That’s when we turned the basketball over. So keeping him in the game and on the floor to initiate because the pressure doesn’t bother him. I thought that was key for us.”
Mann felt the speedy ripple impact of Westbrook’s addition by taking part in about 18 minutes, his fewest in 12 video games. He completed with the staff’s finest plus-minus, the Clippers successful his minutes by six factors. Lue acknowledged Mann’s minutes weren’t sufficient.
“He was good, he should have played more,” Lue stated. “We all just trying to figure it out. Like I said, I know what T-Mann brings to the team. Just trying to learn some things about the newer guys and just trying to put some different pieces together and see how it looks. I had a talk with T-Mann so he understands, but probably should have him on the floor a little bit more, but that’s a learning experience for me, as well.”
Mann acknowledged earlier this season that he struggled discovering his place amid an ever-changing position that noticed him play all the things from ballhandler to a small-ball middle. Stability arrived in early January when Mann changed level guard Reggie Jackson within the beginning lineup.
“Just trusting it, just trust [coaches] but I mean I trust them 100%,” Mann stated. “He’s put me in position to be great plenty of times before so I trust him.”
Shifting roles has outlined Mann’s four-year profession with the Clippers, and he referred to as this nothing completely different. But is it irritating?
“It can be but I mean, I’m used to it,” Mann stated. “That’s just my role on this team, that’s the role I carved out in the NBA for myself being able to play multiple positions so that’s what comes with it. Some nights you’re going to be in one position, some nights you’re not. Some nights you’ll be starting, some nights you’re not. That’s what got me here.”
George, who noticed his minutes restrict expanded in the course of the recreation earlier than being held out as a precaution from the ultimate extra time, referred to as the loss a breakdown of fundamentals. George and Westbrook mixed for 3 turnovers over three consecutive possessions late within the fourth quarter, a stretch that modified the sport, as Lue famous.
“We were poor to get back and match up and gave up just a lot of baskets without them even running offense, just them pushing the pace,” stated George, who scored 34 factors with 10 rebounds and received to the road for 14 free throws in his 41 minutes.
Monk’s game-tying three-pointer with seconds left in regulation was a mixture of breakdowns, together with “a little miscommunication,” George stated.
With the Clippers making an attempt to ease the transition of incorporating new additions of Westbrook, Eric Gordon and Mason Plumlee into their rotation — for now, former Denver guard Bones Hyland is out of the common rotation — and with beginning middle Ivica Zubac out Friday due to an sickness and a sore leg — a mixture that might see him sidelined Sunday at West-leading Denver — miscommunications are to be anticipated.
Yet playoff seeding hinges on fast progress, with their subsequent 5 video games all in opposition to groups at present within the West’s high 9.