Five Takeaways: Clippers Win in Harris & Bradley’s Debut
LOS ANGELES – The new-look Clippers led from beginning to end, beating the Chicago Bulls behind a 24-point debut from Tobias Harris.
Here are five quick takeaways from the Clippers win.
Quote of the Night:
1) New guys make quick impact –
It took 21 seconds for one of the three new players traded to the Clippers to make an impact. Milos Teodosic inbounded the ball towards a flashing Tobias Harris, who swished his first three-point attempt on the right wing for the opening basket of the game, which was fitting since Harris will be in the three-point shootout during All-Star Weekend. New starting shooting guard Avery Bradley scored the third bucket, a 17-foot jumper from the elbow, aiding the Clippers 7-0 run to start the game.
As seamless as the first couple of possessions appeared, there were a few expected miscues: a missed rotation here and an errant pass there. But the newcomers, coaches and teammates were active in discussion throughout, learning each others’ tendencies.
Harris tied the team lead in points with 24, including three three-pointers, and took the most shots in the game with 19. Bradley scored 8 points in his debut, and Boban Marjanovic did not play.
2) Gallinari looks good –
The starting small forward to open the season is now the Clippers’ starting power forward, and in his second game back from injury, Danilo Gallinari played much better, totaling 24 points. The Italian co-led the team in scoring, and with 80-seconds remaining in the game after the Bulls made a late run, he iced the game, scoring on a left handed layup that kissed high off the glass before finding its home at the bottom of the net. Gallinari also secured 8 rebounds, which brought a point forward element as he would then dribble the ball up the court. When Gallinari was on the court, the Clippers outscored the Bulls by 25 points, a game-high.
3) Clippers outpace Bulls –
A fixture for every Clippers game is Doc Rivers, demonstrably imploring his team to go faster and push the pace. Tonight, he got his wish. In the first half, the Clippers ran at a blistering pace with 19 fast break points, 6 points more than the season average.
In the second half, the Clippers continued to outrun the Bulls’ defense, highlighted by an incredible sequence including a jumping Teodosic bounce pass to Harris, who then lobbed the ball to Bradley for the alley-oop finish. The Clippers ended with 33 fastbreak points, a season-high.
4) Bradley smothers LaVine –
Avery Bradley has won two All-Defense awards in his career, receiving a first team nomination following the 2015-16 season, and a second team after the 2012-13 season. Doc Rivers once compared Bradley’s defensive impact to Scottie Pippen. Tonight, Bradley’s first victim as a Clipper was Zach LaVine, who struggled with Bradley attached at his side for most of the game. Bradley hounded LaVine, never straying too far away from the Bulls’ main man. LaVine managed 21 points, but only on 6-of-18 shooting.
As a team, the Bulls shot 36 percent from the field, and only 32 percent from deep.
5) Bench deepens –
Much has been written about the Clippers’ injury woes, but as players return to health, the Clippers’ bench becomes more potent thanks to all the experience gained during the tough times. Doc Rivers employed nine players against the Bulls, and the four players that came off the bench all started multiple games for the Clippers. The bench scored 46 points, compared to only 24 for the Bulls. Lou Williams extended his streak of 20+ points off the bench to 14 games after scoring 21 points tonight. Montrezl Harrell’s toughness inside overwhelmed the Bulls, adding 14 points and 7 rebounds in only 18 minutes, including a monster block sending the ball out of bounds late in the game. Tyrone Wallace supplied an 8-point, 6-rebound, 4-assist game.
What’s Next? – The Clippers play the Dallas Mavericks on Monday at home, tipping off at 7:30 PST.