Five Takeaways: Rivers and Williams hit big shots late in win against Nets

by Caden Kinard

LOS ANGELES -- The Clippers (34-28) overcame an 8-point deficit in the final three minutes, needing clutch shots from Austin Rivers and Lou Williams to beat the Nets (20-48), 123-120.

Here are five quick takeaways from the Clippers win:

Quote of the Night: “I just told Lou Williams keep shooting, keep being aggressive. And Lou looked at me and said, bring it home.” -- Austin Rivers

1) Harris and Rivers lead, Williams finishes --

Tobias Harris scored 18 points in the first half, leading the team’s offense early. In the second half, Austin Rivers scored 22 points behind four three-pointers, including a huge three from the left wing to provide the Clippers a one-point lead late in the game. The final offensive possession, Doc Rivers turned to Lou Williams, who crossed over Caris LeVert before hitting a fadeaway jumper to give LA a three-point lead.

“To [Austin Rivers’] credit, he’s made a lot of big ones,” Doc Rivers said. “You knew coming down what he was going to do and we want our guys to do that. I want Lou [Williams], and Austin, and Tobias [Harris] to feel free enough to take that shot.”

Harris has now played 12 games with the Clippers, and in half of those games, he’s scored 20 or more. Tonight, the forward finished with 26 points on 11-of-19 shooting. Rivers scored a team-high 27 points, his first 20-point game since scoring a career-high 38 points against Memphis on Dec. 23, 2017. Williams added 21 points and four assists off the bench.

2) Nets play the math game --

The Clippers led by as much as 15, but the Nets overwhelmed the Clippers from behind the arc, shooting 18 more three-pointers than the Clippers, and making nine more. Brooklyn eventually took the lead late in the fourth quarter, thanks to a 14-of-27 team shooting performance in the second half. DeMarre Carroll made six three-pointers, finishing with 20 points. In fact, Carroll was the only starter to score in double figures. Every player from the Nets bench scored above double figures, led by Caris LeVert with 27 points, a team-high, boosted by five three-pointers.

3) Jordan is Mr. Efficient --

Entering the night, DeAndre Jordan led the NBA in field goal percentage, shooting 65.6-percent on his attempts, with Clint Capela sitting in second place, shooting 0.1-percent worse than him. If Jordan ends the season on top, it would be his league-record sixth consecutive time topping the league. Tonight, the center scored 17 points on 4-of-8 shooting, while shooting 90-percent (9-of-10) from the free throw line.

Jordan’s efficiency has taken a big leap at the free-throw line this season. With less than five minutes left in the game and the Clippers down two, Jordan confidently made both of his free throws to tie the game. He went 9-of-10 on the night. He’s shooting a career-high 60-percent from the line. But he’s been ever better when challenged. Entering tonight, Jordan had connected on 72.3-percent of his attempts from the free-throw line in the fourth quarter. When intentionally fouled, Jordan has shot 77-percent this season.

“I am just trying to stay confident. I am working on [free throws] a lot, and my teammates are confident in me, so I am getting more and more comfortable up there,” Jordan said.

4) Defense provides early lead --

The Clippers defense was suffocating to open the game, making the Nets wait until 3 minutes and 40 seconds into the game before they scored their first bucket. The Clippers opened the game on a 10-0 run, forcing three turnovers. By the end of the quarter, the Clippers led by five, up 32-27. Milos Teodosic racked up two three-pointers in the period, scoring eight points.

By night’s end, Teodosic scored 14 points. Since the All-Star break, the point guard has averaged 10.3 points per game,

5) New addition --

A few hours before tipoff, the Clippers signed Sean Kilpatrick to a 10-day contract. The 6-foot-4, 210 pound guard, Kilpatrick, 28, has appeared in 39 games this season for the Brooklyn Nets and Milwaukee Bucks. He’s averaged 4.4 points and 1.5 rebounds in 9.9 minutes this season, and holds a 10.1 points-per-game career average.

He checked in for the first time with a little under two minutes remaining in the first quarter, and would finish the night with two points in just over 11 minutes of playing time.

What’s Next? --

The Clippers will face the New Orleans Pelicans at home on Tuesday night with tip off at 7:30 PM PST.

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