Batum’s birthday heroics shine as the Clippers win another

Nicolas Batum, LA Clippers - Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
Nicolas Batum, LA Clippers - Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports /

After two disappointing losses to the Heat and Magic, the LA Clippers followed up with a three-game win streak. In addition, head coach Tyronn Lue’s game plan appears to be much more fluid as the rust is beginning to fall off. This is exactly what the team needs through a tight Western Conference.

Most of the dominance for the Clippers has a direct correlation to the return of their superstar duo. Leonard, in particular, has been on a tear lately, and the entire team has been feeding off his contributions. The LA Clippers’ win over Minnesota was not much different, as Leonard and George played exceptionally well.

Furthermore, the field-goal percentages may not have been the best. Still, George posted his first triple-double in a Clipper uniform. On the other hand, Leonard dropped 19 points, eight rebounds, two steals, and one block in 31 minutes of action.

However, the story of the night was about the french knight, Nicolas Batum, who dominated on his 34th birthday. Not only did he post 13 points, seven rebounds, and two steals, but he also had a game-high +/- with a +30. This shows how significant his impact can be through a tough shooting night for the entire team.

The LA Clippers fought through their struggles and came out with the victory.

Despite shooting under 40% from the field, the LA Clippers held their ground defensively, which led them to the win. That said, Lue and his squad forced the Timberwolves to shoot 18.2% from the three-point line, along with 17 turnovers.

Additionally, one of the reasons this was a low-scoring game for the Clippers was that they couldn’t connect on several wide-open looks on the perimeter. This is a great problem, as Lue has some of the best three-point shooters in the league to work with. These shots will go down with the season progressing, making room for solid scoring runs.

Moreover, the sharpshooting guard Luke Kennard proved how valuable he could be when he is more involved. He was locked in from beyond the arc as he scored 16 points with four three-pointers made. He also knocked many critical shots down the stretch, ultimately leading the Clippers to victory.

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Though this win was crucial, the LA Clippers will have their hands full on the second night of a back-to-back against the Phoenix Suns. As Lue will be shorthanded, the rest of the team will have to find a rhythm early if they are hoping to win another. If the Clippers find themselves in the win column, they could take a strong leap in the Western Conference standings.