The Agua Caliente Clippers opened their 2021 G League season in the Orlando bubble with a 99-95 loss Thursday.
LA Clippers player Amir Coffey scored 14 points and was a perfect 4-for-4 from the free throw line, on a night when the A.C. Clippers shot just 71 percent from the charity stripe, which ultimately cost them the game.
Paul Hewitt, in his first game in charge of Agua Caliente, opted for a starting five of Coffey, Tyrone Wallace, James Palmer, Jr., Emanuel Terry, and Donte Grantham.
The opening minutes were pretty sloppy on both sides, as they tried to play fast and needed to build some on-court chemistry after a mere week of training camp.
The Clippers led for most of the 1st quarter, but Rio Grande Valley took a narrow edge to wrap up the stanza, before the teams finished the quarter tied up at 27-27.
In the 2nd quarter, rookie Emmitt Williams came off the bench and was a sparkplug, helping to move the ball around and score at the rim to help Agua Caliente pull ahead to lead 58-49 at halftime.
But the Vipers were up for it coming out of the break, and chipped away at the Clippers’ lead, taking the lead themselves with just under five minutes to play in the 3rd quarter. Agua Caliente tied it up, but Rio Grande Valley finished out the 3rd with a 76-72 lead.
The Clippers’ highlight of the 3rd was Terry’s follow-up bucket at the rim.
The teams then traded the lead in the 4th quarter, with the Clippers grabbing the edge down the stretch. But RGV got the two-pointer to go back ahead, and Coffey hit a beautiful layup through traffic that clanged off the rim and bounced out to give the Vipers the edge. From there, Rio Grande Valley hit their free throws and claimed the victory.
Standouts on the night were Coffey, who was clearly the point man for much of the game as the team’s two-way player, as well as Williams, who had 12 points and eight rebounds in just 18 minutes, while Terry chipped in with a double-double of 16 points and 11 rebounds.
Agua Caliente is back in action Friday, when they’ll face the Iowa Wolves at 4:30 pm PT on ESPN+.