LA Clippers dodge bullet in 120-107 loss to Utah Jazz

LA Clippers Patrick Beverley (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)
LA Clippers Patrick Beverley (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images) /

The LA Clippers suffered their third home loss of the season Saturday night to the Utah Jazz, but things could have gone much worse.

The LA Clippers suffered their third home loss of the season Saturday night, falling 120-107 to the Utah Jazz. And while it always hurts to add another tally to the loss column, the Clippers will likely come away from this game feeling fortunate because of one key moment in the third quarter.

Roughly two minutes into the second half, veteran point guard and Clippers leader Patrick Beverley fell hard under the basket and immediately reached for his right arm. After getting up, he ran directly back to the locker room, stopping in the hallway to again reach for his arm in pain.

Beverley missed the remainder of the third quarter, and Clippers fans began to assume the worst. The gritty guard rarely looks vulnerable, and he’s known to be the type to play through injuries. But this one looked different, and there seemed to be a real chance that it was severe.

Here’s a look at the play, courtesy of Tomer Azarly on Twitter:

Fortunately, after undergoing x-rays, Beverley was able to return to the game. And at the beginning of the fourth quarter, he was back on the floor to help swing things back in his team’s direction.

LA would go on to lose the contest, but that doesn’t seem so bad compared to the thought of missing Beverley for an extended period.

The Clippers just aren’t the same without him.

Since the 2018-2019 season (after Beverley recovered from knee surgery over the summer), the Clippers have gone just 2-7 in games he’s missed. Without him, the team loses their defensive tone-setter, one of the best pound-for-pound rebounders in the league and major source of energy.

Losing him now would have been a disaster.

The Clippers would make do without him, as they’re better-equipped to do that sort of thing now given all the talent on the roster. But the Clippers are Beverley’s team in a certain sense — he’s helped shape LA’s culture by being the very embodiment of grit. He’s a fighter, and he inspires the rest of the team to go just as hard as he does. He’s as irreplaceable as they come in this league.

There’s a chance Beverley could miss a game or two moving forward, but considering he was able to finish Saturday’s contest is a positive sign. The Clippers will play one more game in 2019 before hosting the Detroit Pistons, Memphis Grizzlies and New York Knicks to begin 2020.

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The loss stings, but losing Beverley would have been much more difficult to swallow. The LA Clippers probably won’t need him for the next few contests if he were to sit out, but it’s much better to have him than to not.