Los Angeles Clippers
MVP: Blake Griffin was just three points shy of tying a record for most points scored by a Clipper on opening night, and like a modern-day Ares, he brought out every weapon in his arsenal. He finished the night with 33 points on 20 attempts, using dunks, midrange, and perhaps no conversion more beautiful than a coast-to-coast layup off a rebound on the defensive end.
That was … an enigma: With sample sizes contained to one game — especially when the game is the first of the season — one often leaves with more questions than answers. That makes it difficult to discern how often the Clippers team that showed up in the first and second quarters will surface or how concerning it is that the Clippers were never able to close the door despite leading by double digits for nearly three quarters. A clearer picture will present itself as the season goes on, and until then, a road win against a Western Conference opponent is hardly anything to scoff at.
X factor: Needing a stop late in the game and only holding a two-point lead, Doc Rivers brought in Austin Rivers as a defensive substitution for Paul Pierce. On the ensuing Kings offensive possession, while double teamed by DeAndre Jordan and Chris Paul, DeMarcus Cousins would make an attempt to pass out of the double team. The errant pass found its way into the hands of Austin Rivers, and the Kings never got closer on the way to their first loss of the season.
— Brandon Tomyoy
Tweet(s) Of The Game
Boogie Cousins addresses the fans here pregame. If he said "snake emoji" and dropped the mic, it'd be the best NBA moment ever.
— Dan Woike (@DanWoikeSports) October 29, 2015
"I hate them, honestly, I do. I hate them." -Cousins on the Clippers
— James Ham (@James_Ham) October 29, 2015
Lob City! https://t.co/QfbHsWlOq4
— NBA TV (@NBATV) October 29, 2015
Check Your Messages
Do YOU Trust This Team?!
No. Not at all.
Alright … you don’t HAVE to trust the Los Angeles Clippers. But it’s gonna be hard.
Last season was a blown opportunity. The last home game the Clippers had saw them blow a 19-point lead to force a Game 7 in Houston that they seemed to lose as soon as they got off the plane. A lot has changed since then, allegedly including some preseason games. But once the regular season starts, it’s like you are hit by the neuralizer in Men In Black; a part of your memory is erased.
The Clippers blew another lead tonight, and they did it in Sacramento, the Lemmy Koopa of the West right now. Yeah, they won. No, it wasn’t a good look to see them stress this one out. No, it wasn’t fun to see Blake Griffin fail to get a 4th quarter bucket after that was the case in Game 6 vs. Houston.
It’s only one game. But trust me, I’m not overreacting. Even with a Clippers win, teams are going to feel like they can win against the Clips this season if the lead is under 20 in the 4th quarter. It’ll take 7 months to shake that Game 6 stigma.
– Law Murray
The Mother of Invention
Tonight it was a necessity – because both DeAndre Jordan and Josh Smith were in foul trouble, the Clippers went to a small-ball lineup several times, with Paul Pierce at the 4 and Blake at the 5. It was something they were either unable or unwilling (or both) to do last year, but in the current NBA climate that flexibility has become a requirement. Though it lacks rim protection, it’s a lineup with a ton of firepower, and one that gives opposing defenses only bad choices. And it was that firepower that was on display for several good minutes at the end of the second and third quarters. In both instances they were able to answer Sacramento runs with big buckets, keeping the Clippers’ lead in double digits going into both quarter breaks. Tonight this lineup was a necessity, but hopefully in the future it will be by choice.
– Ben Mesirow
The Lob, The Jam
Questions on what contributions the new members of this Clippers roster would provide were answered early and often in this first game of the season. Lance Stephenson would surprise by hitting a contested three to start the scoring for the away team, and Paul Pierce would help keep the Kings at bay by exploiting size mismatches on the floor when the Kings decided to go small. However, the play that most seemed to seal the opening night victory was one that has become all too familiar over the past few seasons: a drawn-up lob from Chris Paul to DeAndre Jordan out of a timeout.
– Brandon Tomyoy