Although we did not expect the Clippers to have any issues with the young Suns, one could not have expected such a margin of victory this early in the season. Indeed, the Clippers’ 130-88 win, taking them to 2-0 on the season, was a historically good win for the team:
Per Clippers PR, this was the Clippers' largest margin of victory ever against the Suns— Clips Nation (@ClipsNationSBN) October 22, 2017
Given that tonight was the first home game of the season, and because I was there to witness it, I feel compelled to set the scene a bit more than a typical game recap. As one arrived to their seat, they were greeted by a blue “It Takes Everything” shirt (with the full roster of names printed on the back) and a light-up bracelet (something the Clippers organization has experimented with before).
As the Star Spangled Banner was sung and the roster was announced, fans’ wrists lit up with syncopated patterns of red, white, and blue. Then, there were some fireworks, which was followed by the obligatory speech acknowledging the start of the season — Blake Griffin, doing the honors.
The first few minutes of the game were truly uneventful. The two teams traded buckets fairly evenly, though Griffin and Gallo both hit a few three pointers to set the tone on offense. They were able to get the open looks as product of good ball movement and an especially aggressive Patrick Beverley (Beverley finished with 15 points in 26 minutes).
After the first few minutes, the Clippers were solidly in control. Blake was exceptional all game (29 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists), Austin Rivers played good defense on Devin Booker, and the second until showed its ability to move the ball just like the first unit.
But we did have a concerning moment towards the end of the half, as Miloš Teodosić fell down in the middle of a possession, curled up in pain, and was carried off the court with a lot of help. It is being called a “left foot injury.” X-Rays were “negative,” which is good but we need to see what tomorrow’s (Sunday’s) MRI says because the injury looked muscular.
Milos did not finish the game, but he was able to walk in a boot after the game, which seems promising.
Clippers say Milo's Teodosic is walking boot on injured left foot— Brad Turner (@BA_Turner) October 22, 2017
The second half of the game was primarily about Blake Griffin continuing to be unstoppable — earning MVP chants from the home crowd. But just as much as Griffin was dominating, the Suns’ Josh Jackson was equally struggling. The rookie fouled out trying to guard Blake and others down low. Before he fouled out, Jackson put up 12 points on 3 of 10 shooting.
Outside of Blake, the Clippers had solid games from several other players. Lou Williams looked smooth and under control, finishing with an efficient 18 points (53.8% from the field). The back up bigs of Reed and Harrell found themselves taking after their principal, catching lobs from Lou Williams and Austin Rivers as the second unit took over the game.
Speaking of Rivers: In 32 minutes (more minutes than expected because of Milos’ foot injury, Austin had 5 points and 4 assists. But although these numbers are not ones to flaunt about, Rivers looked more himself — quick, confident, and ready to play defense, even if the shot was not going down.
The Clippers will play the Utah Jazz on Tuesday at 7:30pm on their home court. Go Clips!