Summer League Recap: Game 3
Branden Dawson made his first Summer League start count.
A Clippers team that had struggled early in games through their first two matchups found a spark Tuesday afternoon in Dawson, who had four points, four rebounds and two steals in the first six minutes to help the Clippers jump out quickly on the Thunder and earn their first Summer League victory, 80-63.
Dawson, who finished with 14 points, 11 rebounds, four steals, a block and an assist in 27 minutes, said he got excited the minute coach Brendan O’Connor told him he was starting.
“I got my mind right and got rested up, because I knew I would be playing more minutes,” Dawson said.
I just wanted to go out there and contribute. It felt nice because we got the W.”
Tuesday, July 7 - 2PM PT
Watch: NBATV | Amway Center
The Clippers led, 20-8, in the first quarter, largely behind the contributions of Dawson and Nate Wolters, who finished the opening quarter with 10 points, two assists, two blocks, a steal and a rebound.
When the Thunder cut the deficit to six points near the end of the first quarter, Wolters got out on the break and hit a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to give the Clippers a nine-point lead after the first quarter. The point guard finished with 12 points, five assists, three blocks and two steals.
The Clippers held onto a comfortable advantage from that point on, leading by double digits for seven of the final eight minutes of the first half following Erik Griffin’s put-back dunk, as he soared in out of nowhere with 8:23 remaining in the second quarter to give the Clippers an 11-point lead.
The Clippers continued to lead by double digits the entire third quarter and by at least nine points for the whole second half. When the Thunder cut the deficit to nine with 9:21 remaining in the fourth quarter, Dawson responded with a put-back layup and a windmill dunk, the latter coming off a steal from Newbill to give the Clippers a comfortable 13-point lead.
“I just try to bring energy on the boards and get to every loose ball,” Dawson said. “My teammates got me the ball on a couple breaks and I was able to score pretty easily. My job every night is to bring energy, and if the points come, too, I’ll be OK with that.”
Along with Dawson, Newbill also was added to the starting lineup for the first time, recording four points, five assists and three steals in 31 minutes. Newbill said it felt great to know he’d be starting, and as unexpected as the news was, he would always be ready for that opportunity.
“You never know when your number is going to be called,” Newbill said. “My thing was to prepare myself mentally. I thought about different plays and how I was going to execute out there on the court. It all came together and we were able to get a win.”
C.J. Wilcox led all scorers with 22 points on 7-of-17 shooting, finding his long-range shot late by drilling two of his four 3-pointers in the fourth quarter. Wilcox now leads all Clippers players during Summer League action with 15 points per game.
The Clippers only hit one 3-pointer in their loss Sunday, but they responded Tuesday by going 8-for-19 from 3-point range against a previously undefeated Oklahoma City squad which went just 3-for-16 from behind the arc.
Griffin and Diante Garrett finished with nine points apiece. Garrett also added three rebounds, two steals and an assist in 16 minutes.
The Clippers will play their final Orlando Summer League game Wednesday at 2 p.m. PT against the Heat.