The Los Angeles Clippers bench players came up big in the team’s second scrimmage in the Orlando bubble Saturday, as they came back from a 12-point deficit in the second half to beat the Washington Wizards 105-100.
Rodney McGruder hit the go-ahead basket late in the fourth quarter, while Patrick Patterson came on strong in the second half to lead the Clippers with 16 points in the game.
Doc Rivers, left with the players available with a slew of absences at the moment, started essentially two of his usual starters — Kawhi Leonard and Paul George.
Leonard picked up two fouls in the first five minutes, but with no stakes in this scrimmage he remained on the floor.
Terance Mann made use of his playing time, scoring 11 points in 11 minutes of action in the first half, including this reverse dunk early on.
The Clippers were up 30-22 after the first quarter, and seemed to be cruising as the second quarter got underway, but Washington had a 30-16 run to end the half, with the Wizards leading 61-58 at the break.
It’s probably not a big surprise, considering most of the players out there were bench options, but the Clippers looked sloppy on offense and defense as the second quarter rolled on. Add to that uncharacteristic free throw struggles, with the entire team shooting 5-13 in the first half, and there was work to do in the second half.
The sloppy play continued in the third quarter, with Washington more crisp on their rotations and shooting better than LA. The Wizards not only maintained their lead but extended it, getting to a 12-point lead with 4:00 remaining in the third quarter. LA chipped into it a bit, with Amir Coffey, among others, hitting a couple key shots to end the 3rd quarter with the Wizards ahead 84-76.
McGruder hit two free throws with 5:33 left to tie the game at 90-90, but the Wizards refused to lie down.
McGruder then hit a dagger three-pointer with 3:05 to go to give the Clippers their first lead of the 2nd half, 97-95, and then got another shot from distance to give the Clips a bit of a cushion. From there, the Clippers never gave up the lead to see out the win.