CLIPPERS FALL TO BULLS IN SUMMER LEAGUE OPENER
Eric Patten, Clippers.com
LAS VEGAS – As much as the Clippers hung around in Saturday evening’s Summer League opener at Thomas & Mack Center, the Chicago Bulls kept them at a distance.
The Clippers, playing with a 12-man roster that does not include a single player from their regular-season group, were as close as six points in the second half, but Tony Snell and the Bulls outlasted them, 86-70.
“We never really got to get over that hump,” Clippers summer league coach Brendan O’Connor. “We just kept turning the ball over. We had a hard time scoring against their half-court defense. In a longer stretch, we might have more stuff we could throw at them, but that’s something that we’ll look at it.”
The Clippers (0-1) did not score until the 6:50 mark of the first quarter, after the Bulls (1-0) ran off seven in a row to start the game.
The start was somewhat indicative of the entire game. The Clippers would pull close, as they did when they scored nine-straight points in the last two minutes of first to tie the game at 19, and the Bulls would answer.
Part of that was predicated on allowing 21 points off of 18 turnovers and allowing the Bulls to shoot 57.7 percent from the field.
- Lorenzo Brown can make plays. The former Sixers point guard showed an ability to get to the rim and drew plenty attention. He helped the Clippers score nine-straight points in the first quarter with a pair of free throws, a baseline drive and kick out to Will Clyburn for a corner 3-pointer, missed a breakaway layup high off the backboard that rookie Shawn Jones followed up with a two-handed dunk and banked in a runner a possession later. He’s versatile, too. He played the two-guard spot alongside Armon Johnson and showed some range, converting the first 4-point play of the summer in the third quarter. Brown finished with a team-high 17 points and eight assists.
- Shawn Jones is a load inside and has boundless energy. At 6-foot-7, he’s a bit undersized for a power forward, but Jones showed mettle all night. He had two put-backs, banged around inside and even showed an ability to step out and knock down a left-handed 20-footer. He scored eight points with seven rebounds and two steals off the bench.
- Amath M’Baye is much improved after a year overseas. Among the most intriguing players on the Clippers’ summer league roster is M’Baye, who worked out last June for them prior to the 2013 Draft. He is likely the most athletic player among the 12-man group and has a build that could make him a potential defensive stopper and quality wing. The problem for the French national and former Oklahoma Sooner is that a year ago he was more of a four-man playing the three. That’s seemingly changed after a year in Japan, where he scored 18.8 points per game. He made a pair of 3-pointers on Saturday and showed a refined touch around the rim, scoring on a floater and a feathery jump hook off an offensive board. He had 14 points on 5-of-8 shooting and four rebounds.
QUOTE OF THE NIGHT
Delonte West: “Organizations pretty much know my game. Over the last year or two I’ve added a few things that could elevate me and things that were holding me back in the past basketball-wise, I’ve tightened up.”
“The biggest thing you say is whether it’s an NBA team or a team in Europe nobody wants to see you do what you don’t do. It’s more play together, do what you do well, and that’s what’s going to get you a job.”
Tony Snell scored a game-high 27 points, going 10-for-14 from the field… Rookie first rounder Doug McDermott had 10 points in 31 minutes… West scored four points in 23 minutes… The Clippers are 1-5 in their last six Summer League games… They shot 40.9 percent from the field and committed 24 personal fouls… Aziz N’Diaye had seven fouls. Players are not permitted to foul out in Summer League play…