In the midst of three games in four nights, Los Angeles Clippers coach Doc Rivers rested his "big three" of Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan. With J.J. Redick, Matt Barnes and Reggie Bullock already out with various minor bumps and bruises, the Clippers were missing five of their top seven players and four starters -- and the lone starter who did play, Jared Dudley, is a player about whom I have often said that he is good player on a good team, but not of much use on a bad team.
I suppose a game like this is useful for Rivers to evaluate the end of the roster guys -- to help decide if Maalik Wayns or Brandon Davies or Lou Amundson deserves a roster spot, if Ryan Hollins deserves minutes in the rotation, etc. But Rivers is getting paid to make those decisions, while we're not getting paid to watch the resulting mess.
I made it through the first half -- then ClipperZoe wanted to watch Breaking Bad on Netflix, and I watched with her. Walt was much more entertaining.
In the absence of so many others, Jamal Crawford tried to carry the load, scoring 25 points in 31 minutes, making 9-14 from the field and 4-6 from deep. Anyone who was perhaps a bit concerned about Jamal based on his quiet first couple of games need not be -- dude can still score, which the second unit will certainly need during the season.
Darren Collison pitch in with 20 points, 10 assists and four steals in a solid performance,Willie Green did what you would expect him to do in scoring 12 points -- and the rest of the team was pretty bad. In fact, six of the 10 Clippers who played scored four points or fewer.
Byron Mullens, who had taken seven three pointers in each of the first two exhibition games in limited minutes, got the start in this one and took a dozen more in 35 minutes. He made four -- which is fine -- but 12 is a whole heck of a lot of three pointers. Of course, the Clippers didn't have a ton of options. Antawn Jamison, who will be counted on for some front court scoring off the bench this season, was especially ineffective, making just one shot in ten attempts.
Neither Wayns, nor Davies nor Amundson did much to help them secure a roster spot while I was watching -- and unfortunately Wayns limped off the court midway through the second quarter and did not return.
For the Kings, DeMarcus Cousins had his way with Mullens and Hollins, with 31 points and 11 rebounds in 28 minutes. As I mentioned earlier, it might have been nice to see Jordan go up against a solid center like Cousins, but it was not to be. We'll have to be content to watch him against Marcin Gortat and Alex Len Tuesday night. The Kings' final margin of victory of 11 almost doesn't make sense when you consider that the they outrebounded the Clippers 53-29. Yikes.