Five things I noticed in the Clippers’ second preseason game

HONOLULU, HI - OCTOBER 03: Blake Griffin
HONOLULU, HI - OCTOBER 03: Blake Griffin /
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HONOLULU, HI – OCTOBER 03: Blake Griffin
HONOLULU, HI – OCTOBER 03: Blake Griffin /

3) Blake Griffin looks ready to lead the team

Blake looked fantastic in the Clippers’ win and showed that he’s ready to function as the number one option for this new squad. The power forward finished with 17 points, four rebounds, three assists, and three steals in just over 23 minutes of action in the game and also shot a stellar 6 of 11 from the floor. For the majority of his minutes, Griffin was focused on getting shots for his teammates and only taking shots for himself when the opportunity presented itself.

However, the Clippers started out the third quarter struggling on offense and Griffin took matters into his own hands to get the team going. The power forward led the Clippers on a 13-2 run that pushed their lead to 21 points and got the team’s offense moving again. Griffin took advantage of Poeltl outside the paint, hitting a floater over the seven-footer and then bodied Siakam in the paint, spinning past him for a layup off the glass.

Griffin then slipped out behind the arc on a pick play with Teodosic and knocked down the three-point jumper with ease. The power forward capped off his impressive performance by sizing up Siakam with a few dribble moves and then nailed a fadeaway one-footer jumper in his face.

4) The Chemistry isn’t quite there just yet

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While there were plenty of positive things to take away from the Clips’ second game, it was evident that the team still has room to improve in the chemistry department. While it was just a preseason game, the team still turned the ball over 22 times, many of which just came on miscommunications such as players not being in the right spot or not being ready to get the ball. However, the fact that the team assisted on 23 of their 34 field goals is great and shows how well the team was moving the ball on offense.

Chemistry issues were obvious on the defensive end for the Clippers as well. Players failing to rotate over with help defense allowed the Raptors to score easy baskets at the rim and LA often missed boxing players out, allowing Toronto to grab offensive rebounds. Like I said above, it’s preseason, so some of these numbers are because the guys who didn’t play very much and won’t see the court for the Clippers this season, but it is still concerning that the team gave up 15 offensive rebounds to the Raptors.

These issues will work themselves out as time goes on and as Doc Rivers has the rotations more concrete but the team’s chemistry will be a thing to watch as the preseason plays out and the regular season begins.

5) Willie Reed is going to be valuable off of the bench

After not getting much runtime in the Clippers’ first preseason game, Willie Reed played just over 12 minutes in the team’s second game and was very impressive. Reed finished with 12 points and four rebounds, shooting 100 percent from the field (4-4) and from the free throw line (4-4). The center showed off some nice hands, catching some really tough passes from his teammates and converting them at the rim, including this nice alley-oop finish off of a lob from Williams:

What was more valuable and impressive about Reed’s performance was the things he did that didn’t show up in the box score. The center was active on both ends of the floor, boxing out and keeping possessions alive on the offensive end and playing great defense on the other end. Reed had two plays that were called fouls (they weren’t) where he displayed textbook verticality and came away with what should have been a block. Reed also drew THREE charges in his 12 minutes of game time, using his awareness and quick feet to slide in front of Toronto players on drives.

Despite his inability to stretch the floor, Reed looks like he has the potential to be the best back up center that the Clippers have had in a while and is without a doubt going to outplay his contract.