WASHINGTON, D.C. – Luc Mbah a Moute was determined to play at some point on the Clippers’ three game trip.
He made it happen Sunday against the Wizards, returning from a two-game absence from a right AC sprain in his shoulder. Wizards head coach Scott Brooks knew what the Clippers were missing with Mbah a Moute sidelined.
“He is probably one of the best defensive players in the league, and unfortunately for him, he doesn’t get rewarded enough,” Brooks said before the game. “We all talk about defense, but sometimes we forget about the defensive players.”
With Mbah a Moute’s help this season, the Clippers have held 10 of the NBA’s top 25 scorers to an offensive output below their season averages.
Head coach Doc Rivers said Mbah a Moute worked out with the trainers Saturday, and he was given the go-ahead to return. Mbah a Moute played 17 minutes in his return to action, recording six points and a steal.
“He can guard one through five,” Brooks said. “He’s tough, and from what I hear, he’s a great guy to have on your team.”
Pierce Back In DC
It was clear last year how much Pierce was revered in Washington D.C. from just his lone season with the Wizards when he walked back into Verizon Center for the first time since his departure.
Pierce had his famous “I called game” playoff game-winner while playing for the Wizards, serving as the same clutch postseason player he had been throughout his career in Boston. But he said Sunday what stands out most from his experience in Washington wasn’t anything on the court.
“Just the things off the court and the relationships you build, just seeing the maturity of Otto Porter, knowing I had an influence on him, on Bradley Beal, John Wall,” Pierce said. “The things I remember are the things off the court, having a relationship with them, talking to them guys, helping them understand the everyday process. Those are things I’m going to remember. I keep up with them, even to today, just to see all they’re doing.”
Rivers, who coached Pierce in Boston, where the two won a title together, joked Pierce wasn’t with the Wizards long enough to have any memories, as far as he’s concerned.
“He made an ‘I called game’ shot,” Rivers said. “Other than that, I think his memories are always when he goes to Boston. That’s his special thing.”