LA Clippers role players should shine after Sunday’s dud

Lou Williams LA Clippers (Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images)
Lou Williams LA Clippers (Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images) /

After a poor showing on Sunday, the LA Clippers’ role players have a chance to shine against a weak Golden State Warriors.

For any LA Clippers’ player not named Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, or Montrezl Harrell, Sunday’s loss to the Lakers was not a good performance. Outside of those three, the team combined for just nine made field goals on 42 attempts. Only five more makes came from the free throw line.

Part of the struggle had to do with great defensive play from the Lakers but a lot of shots just weren’t falling. It wasn’t just the scoring though. Marcus Morris acknowledged after the game that much, citing he didn’t do the little things to impact the game.

"“I need to be better regardless of what my role is,” Marcus Morris said. “I’m a veteran, a pro. I just need to be better. I didn’t feel like I impacted this game to the best of my abilities, even without scoring, just doing other things.”"

That’s a step in the right direction. Doing the little things when your shot isn’t falling still contributes to winning basketball. However, as Andrew Greif notes at the end of that piece, his shooting still does matter. Morris was 0-9 from the field on Sunday. Had he knocked down just a couple of his attempts from three, the result may have gone differently.

Lou Williams has struggled against the Lakers now in all three appearances, most recently only scoring seven points, 11 below his season average. The Lakers focused heavily on him, relying on Avery Bradley, Rajon Rondo, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope to bother his offense. Lou was still one of just three players to end with a positive plus/minus but it didn’t feel like his day.

EDIT: Lou Williams has been ruled OUT of Tuesday’s contest due to a sore right calf. He had not appeared on any injury report prior to the time of writing.

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Tuesday night’s game against the Golden State Warriors affords Morris, Williams and the rest of the Clippers’ roster the chance to get back on the right track. This isn’t to trash the Warriors’ players but they are a league-worst 15-49. The team recently saw the return of Stephen Curry but he missed Saturday’s game and Sunday’s practice with the flu and is questionable tonight. Draymond Green is also out with a knee injury.

Assuming Curry doesn’t play, the Clippers should be able to blow this one out early. (Emphasis on should.)

Patrick Beverley will likely be facing the Warriors’ third guard, Jordan Poole as Ky Bowman is also out for Golden State For Morris, he should get opportunities to score while Andrew Wiggins focuses on defending one of Leonard or George. Ivica Zubac will have an undersized Marquese Chriss on him to start the game. The starters, led by George and Leonard, should have absolutely no issue pouring in bucket after bucket.

The bench group will likely get a lot of run if the game gets out of hand. This will allow Williams, Reggie Jackson, JaMychal Green, and even Landry Shamet to get up quality looks and build rapport. Williams has scored 22 and 21 points in the last two meetings against Golden State so a repeat performance isn’t unlikely. It feels wrong to say but this game ultimately can be a live-action practice.

Speaking of, Joakim Noah joined the team and should be available to play. He should be able to get minutes and start to get in the flow of things with the second unit, something that needs to happen sooner rather than later. With him only on a 10-day contract at this point, more minutes to see what he has in the tank is exactly what’s needed. His inclusion may also mean Montrezl Harrell can get some much-needed rest late in the game.

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The Clippers “other guys” have for the most part been great this season. In Sunday’s game, they were not. Tuesday is the perfect game against a lower-tier team to right the ship and get everyone back to playing at the level we know they are capable of.