Patrick Beverley: Experiment to start second PG contained Devin Booker

Los Angeles Clippers guard Patrick Beverley (21) flexes his muscle as he celebrates a shot against the Phoenix Suns. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Los Angeles Clippers guard Patrick Beverley (21) flexes his muscle as he celebrates a shot against the Phoenix Suns. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

The LA Clippers came out for Game 2 with Patrick Beverley in the starting lineup.

It was a different look, as the Clippers not only put Beverley in the starting lineup, but also added Ivica Zubac. Beverley hadn’t started for the Clippers since Game 2 of the first round.

Nicolas Batum and Terance Mann were the two swapped out of the startling lineup on Tuesday. The Clippers may not have come out on top, but it wasn’t a bad move at all from Ty Lue.

Patrick Beverley contributed to the LA Clippers containing Devin Booker in Game 2.

Early in the game, it was clear that Beverley was being a bit of a pest to Devin Booker. It led to Booker only going 3 of 10 in the first half, and Booker struggled in general, recording two personal fouls early in the contest.

What was impressive about Beverley is that his aggressiveness cost him two fouls early in the contest as well, but Lue wanted him to keep being himself and keep being aggressive.

It’s a smart strategy. The worst thing that happens is that Pat Bev fouls out a little early, and Terance Mann, who has been exceptional in this postseason, can pick up the slack. Those aggressive Pat Bev minutes would still be valuable when he was out there.

Beverley continued to be ultra-competitive on defense, and ended up picking up his fourth foul in the fourth quarter. He got injured on the play (as did Booker, who he collided heads with on the foul), and had to leave the game for a bit.

Both players only had to sit a couple minutes before they were back for the fourth quarter. Booker entered the game in the fourth quarter, and looked a little bit better.

He still didn’t look like himself at all, as this new lineup created many unfavorable matchups for Book. Booker had maybe his worst game of the playoffs with just 20 points on 5 of 16 shooting and seven turnovers.

Sure, Pat Bev didn’t look impressive on offense, but that wasn’t his role. He was given this chance to make an impact on defense. He even had  a couple very clutch defensive plays against Booker to have the Clips keep their lead of one point all the way until there were 0.7 seconds left in the game, before Deandre Ayton’s inbound jam.

Sure enough, three key players in the Suns’ startling lineup struggled offensively.

Mikal Bridges was off on offense, scoring just five points on two of seven shooting (one of five from three).  Jae Crowder had a disappointing showing on offense too, as he didn’t make any field goals on three attempts, scoring just two points.

The Clippers wanted to try to let Cameron Payne beat the Suns, and not their best player in Booker. It’s not a bad strategy at all. If defenses don’t focus on Booker, he’s absolutely going to exploit them.

It’s best to not put the game in the hands of a top five scorer in the NBA.

Payne had a career night, putting up 29 points on 12 of 24 shooting. Ayton, who the Clips placed less attention on than they did Booker, also went off, scoring 24 after going 12 for 15. Ayton obviously scored the game-winning dunk with 0.7 seconds left on the inbound lob.

The game was very competitive, even when it appeared that the Clippers were flat at times, and not playing the way we know they could.

Next. Ty Lue outcoaches Doc Rivers. dark

Their defense kept them in the game, however. The move was another savvy one by Lue, and while the Clips couldn’t pull out the win, Lue showed once again that he’s willing to change things up and make adjustments. It’s his best attribute, and bodes well for how well he is capable of coaching as the series shifts over to Staples Center.