LA Clippers: Team grades on poor shooting night in win versus the Spurs

LA ClippersKawhi Leonard(Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
LA ClippersKawhi Leonard(Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /

Even though they won against the Spurs, the LA Clippers didn’t have their best offensive game. Here’s how we grade their performance.

The LA Clippers managed to give the San Antonio Spurs their first loss of the season behind Kawhi Leonard‘s 38 points and 12 rebounds. It’s pretty obvious that he will be getting a good grade, so let’s start there.

Kawhi Leonard – A

38 points and 12 rebounds is a pretty darn awesome statline. Add in his  4 steals and it seems like he had a perfect night.

Well, it wasn’t perfect. There’s a reason he only gets an “A” from me instead of an “A+”. Leonard didn’t seem particularly on in the first half, scoring only 13 points on 5 of 16 shooting. He seemed to be forcing a lot of shots in order to get into a rhythm, which he couldn’t accomplish.

In the second half, he turned everything around. He scored 23 points in the third quarter, pushing the Clippers into the lead. The bad part? He was 8 of 23.

Look, Kawhi was the reason we won this game, which is why he gets a high grade still. I have to say though, I’m not a fan of the high volume shooting, even though it was needed with how abysmal the rest of the team shot. I’ll get to that.

Kawhi also only dished out one assist and after the way he has been dropping dimes, that seemed odd. I’ll chalk this one up to him having a personal vendetta against the Spurs and leave it at that.

Guards – C

Part of the reason Kawhi had to take over was a severe lack of shooting elsewhere. Lou Williams was the only guard to score in double digits, with just 12 points on a not-so-impressive 5 of 19 shooting from the field. His five assists were at team-high which was much needed.

Landry Shamet returned to his cold shooting, scoring just 7 points. He did dish out a couple of assists which is always helpful and grabbed a steal.

Patrick Beverley was his usual aggressive self on the defensive end but still hasn’t found his shot yet in the early season. His energy is such a big factor though that the shooting is forgivable. He’ll come around.

Rodney McGruder made his debut last night, but it was not a good one. His Kentavious Caldwell-Pope like statline of all zeroes is not what we wanted to see. Rust was likely a big factor here and we just need to hope he improves in the team’s next outing.

As a group, the guards just didn’t show a lot. After Mike Conley and Donovan Mitchell had their way with them in Utah on Wednesday, I really hoped we could get a bounce-back performance from the unit. Maybe on Sunday (when they face Utah again) things will change.

The Bigs – B

This group got carried by two players – Montrezl Harrell and Ivica Zubac.

Harrell had the second-most points on the team with 24 and was by far the most efficient scorer. He put in 9 of 11 attempts from the field and got to the free-throw line nine times, converting on six. He did run into some foul trouble again which is something we need to pay attention to all season, but overall he was excellent and the Spurs had no answer.

Zubac looked great, but on the defensive end.

Zubac has looked great so far this year and although he wasn’t scoring off the pick-and-roll last night as he has in other games, he was still an effective player on the court. The team has a defensive beast in Zubac while Harrell is a monster on offense. It’s a real pick your poison for other teams.

The other bigs who got meaningful minutes, JaMychal Green and Patrick Patterson, could not buy a bucket. They each laid goose eggs in the scoring columns. Both rebounded well though, which is good to see when they aren’t able to score. Patterson grabbed four offensive rebounds and stayed really engaged when on the court. Green added eight defensive boards. I doubt there are many nights when both players are this cold at the same time.

dark. Next. Three takeaways from the Clippers win over the Spurs

The Clippers got a much-needed superstar performance from Kawhi Leonard. Had they not, this may have been their second loss in a row. With a game versus Utah on Sunday, they’ll need to play much better all-around if they don’t want to fall down 0-2 in that series.