There is less than one month until the 2020-21 NBA season tips off, and for now, it’s a good time to relive one of the more enjoyable Clippers wins in recent history.
On this day last year, the Clippers playing the Grizzlies on Thanksgiving Eve, on the second game of a back-to-back after comfortably winning in Dallas the night before. Kawhi Leonard was sitting out, as was his pattern in consecutive games last season, so the team had Rodney McGruder starting in his place. Alas, McGruder went down in the third quarter with a thigh injury, and the Clippers were already without Landry Shamet due to an ankle sprain.
That left Lou Williams, Montrezl Harrell, and JaMychal Green to each play the full fourth quarter, give or take two seconds. The sixth man duo of Williams and Harrell tied for the team lead in scoring that night with 24 points apiece, and they combined for 18 of LA’s 29 points in the final period. Harrell and Green were the two leading rebounders on the evening.
It was an exciting finish in Memphis. Patrick Beverley, who also had to play double-digit minutes in the fourth quarter, hit a 3-pointer to tie the game at 119 with 1:29 to play. Three straight empty possessions ensued, and the Clippers had the ball with 31.2 seconds to go.
Paul George missed the first 3-point attempt, but Green collected an offensive rebound. Williams followed that up with an iso as he cleared out his side of the floor against Solomon Hill. Williams missed the floater, but he got just enough of Jonas Valanciunas’ attention that Harrell had the space for a putback to put the Clippers up with 2.3 seconds left.
Moe Harkless came in for the final possession, and despite playing just two seconds in the fourth, made one of the biggest plays of the night by blocking Jaren Jackson Jr.’s game-winning 3-point attempt. It was a total team win for a group that was missing its biggest star, a sign of the heart and grit that the Clippers hope to reclaim in the upcoming NBA season.