The Morning After: LA Clippers roll Los Angeles Lakers 108-92 in opener

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 19: (R-L) Willie Reed
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 19: (R-L) Willie Reed /
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LOS ANGELES, CA – OCTOBER 19: (R-L) Willie Reed
LOS ANGELES, CA – OCTOBER 19: (R-L) Willie Reed /

Fueled by quality performances from Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan, the LA Clippers crushed the Los Angeles Lakers 108-92 in the team’s season opener.

From the very start of the game, you knew the LA Clippers were ready to roll. Patrick Beverley locked in on Lonzo Ball the very moment the tip-off was thrown and didn’t let up on the rookie until the final buzzer sounded; Blake Griffin looked focused and polished on offense and was also very active defensively, and DeAndre Jordan was an absolute monster on the boards, cleaning up multiple missed shots with putback dunks. Griffin and Jordan led the team offensively with Griffin putting on an offensive clinic against the young Laker power forwards. Griffin finished with 29 points, 12 rebounds, and 3 assists while shooting 12-23 (52.2 percent) and 3-6 (50 percent) from three-point land. The power forward has his way with the Lakers, controlling the flow on offense and bullying his way into the paint and scoring at will.

Griffin’s fantastic performance was complemented by a superb night by DeAndre Jordan. Jordan finished with 14 points on 5-10 (50 percent) shooting from the floor (including an impressive 4-4 from the free throw line) and pulled down a whopping 24 rebounds in 31 minutes. Jordan was incredibly active on the offensive end, grabbing nine offensive rebounds, a few of which he turned into putback jams.

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Wesley Johnson turned in another shockingly positive performance off the bench for the Clips, knocking down 4-7 (57.1 percent) of his shots to score nine points while also grabbing five rebounds. Along with Johnson, the Clippers’ back up center, Willie Reed provided the team with a boost off of the bench, throwing down some nice alley-oops en route to an eight point, five rebound performance on 3-6 (50 percent) shooting from the floor.

The rest of the Clippers’ new additions (and Austin Rivers) struggled from the floor in their debuts but still found ways to contribute to the team’s victory. In his NBA debut and surprising start, Milos Teodosic scored six points and dished out six points for the Clips but only shot 2-9 (22.2) percent from the floor in his 21 minutes of game action. Patrick Beverley was ferocious on defense and impacted the game greatly by blanketing Lonzo Ball, but also struggled shooting the ball, going 4-12 (33.3 percent) from the field on his way to 10 points and four rebounds. The fifth member of the Clippers’ starting five, Danilo Gallinari had 11 points, 5 rebounds, and 3 assists in his LA debut, but shot just 3-13 (23.1 percent) in his 33 minutes of game action.

Lou Williams had a solid game off of the bench for LA (although I feel like he’s a little trigger-happy at times), scoring 12 points on 5-12 (41.7 percent) shooting and also dishing out six assists. Austin Rivers struggled mightily in the Clippers’ season opener, going 1-11 (9.1 percent) from the field and scoring only two points. Rivers was aggressive and hustled on both ends of the floor, but the guard took some ill-advised shots and looked a little bit out of sync on the offensive end of the floor.

As a whole, the Clippers shot a respectable 39.3 percent from the floor and 36.4 percent from the three-point line, which is an acceptable percentage from deep. The team was locked in on defense and came away with 12 steals and was active on the offensive glass, grabbing 17 offensive rebounds. Those steals and offensive rebounds led to more possessions for the Clippers and resulted in the team attempting 107 shots on the night, 16 more than the Lakers.

Of note, Doc Rivers opted to start Milos Teodosic and Patrick Beverley against the Lakers, but kept the guard rotation staggered so that all four guards received an even amount of minutes. Rivers finished with 26 minutes since Doc left him in to run the bench unit at the end of the game, Beverley and Williams both finished with 24 minutes each, and Teodosic finished with 21 minutes played in his debut. It would seem that Doc Rivers is going to alter the guard rotation around the matchups in the future and that there will be games where the starting backcourt changes based on who the team is facing.