Los Angeles Clippers
MVP: Mirza Teletovic continued his recent streak of play off the bench, scoring 22 points and pulling down 9 rebounds in his 28 minutes of play. He often overpowered smaller defenders that were matched up against him, scoring on offensive putbacks and around the paint.
That was … another skeleton lineup: The Clippers only suited up 10 players; Jamal Crawford and every regular starter except for Luc Mbah a Moute did not make the trip. Even assistant coach Lawrence Frank was given the night off. The remaining roster offered lineup combinations that were rarely seen this season, including heavy minutes given to Pablo Prigioni (39 minutes) and a career-high in minutes for C.J. Wilcox (29 minutes).
X factor: With the Clippers playing small for the entire night, the larger Suns frontcourt had their way on the glass and in the paint. Their 18 offensive rebounds contributed towards 31 second chance points, while the Suns would also score 60 points in the paint on the night.
— Brandon Tomyoy
Tweet(s) Of The Game
— LA Clippers (@LAClippers) April 14, 2016
— NBA.com (@NBAcom) April 14, 2016
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Wilcox Break Out
I’ve been looking out for C.J. Wilcox ever since he was drafted in 2014. There wasn’t much to speak of in his rookie year – not even D-League appearances. He followed that up with a relatively inconsistent Summer League performance in which he was sharing shots with former Clipper Jordan Hamilton.
The Clippers decided to run Wilcox through the D-League ringer this year, as he played 21 games split between Bakersfield and Canton. Wilcox is as buried as you can possibly get on a postseason roster without getting hurt. He’s a shooting guard only, and the Clippers have J.J. Redick, Jamal Crawford, and Austin Rivers taking pretty much all of the minutes there. Wilcox also doesn’t have all the time in the world here. He turned 25 years old back in December.
That said, you saw some nice things tonight in Phoenix from Wilcox. For the first time in his career, Wilcox attempted more than 10 shots in a game. He converted 8-of-13 field goals to score a career-high 19 points, which included making 3-of-6 three-pointers. He moves well without the ball, shows the ability to attack overaggressive defenders with a pump fake and pull-up jumper, and he has solid range. He’s not a comfortable scorer – hence, not attempting a single free throw in 28 minutes – but he’s absolutely worth developing.
Now … we’ll see if we ever see Wilcox in a Clippers uniform again. He’s likely to be a daily inactive this postseason along with the other project on the roster, rookie Branden Dawson, and his name has been circulated in trade rumors before. Giving up on Wilcox would be a waste, and on a roster lacking shooters under contract (not to mention J.J. Redick’s back at age 31 and Jamal Crawford’s calves at age 36), Wilcox could be a good piece to work before his rookie deal runs out.