The Clippers had a different look to start the game with the continued absence of Paul George and the unexpected unavailability of Kawhi Leonard. But the rearranged lineup didn’t affect the team’s overall effectiveness, as they continued their three-game win streak with a 128-111 victory.
In the first three minutes of the game, the Clippers only scored two points. But over the next 22, they dropped 68 to end the first half with 70 total, even without their two superstars. During the first quarter, the team got going by getting to the foul line, earning 15 free throws to compensate for their poor shooting from the field. That reversed in the second quarter as the Clippers shot 6-of-11 from 3-point range; meanwhile, the Cavaliers only took 10 threes total in the first half.
Cleveland managed to cut the deficit near the end of the second quarter, getting to within six with two minutes to play in the period. However, the Clippers finished with a flurry, highlighted by a Reggie Jackson end-to-end layup and two threes from Luke Kennard to take a 12-point lead into intermission.
From there, the third-quarter Clippers took over. If you were late coming back after halftime, you’d be forgiven for wondering if something happened to Cleveland during the break. LA started the second half on a 14-2 run, essentially blowing the game open, and Lou Williams had a hand in all 14 points. He scored six and assisted to Patrick Beverley for the other eight.
Williams was the engine throughout. He looked as comfortable as ever as part of the starting lineup in Leonard’s place, finishing with 30 points and 10 assists for the fifth time in his career. He also completely wrecked the Cavaliers defense running the pick-and-roll with Serge Ibaka, as Ibaka also ate inside to the tune of 21 points, nine rebounds, and six assists. The two of them just kept making the right reads, resulting in shots at the rim or open threes every time down the floor.
Marcus Morris Sr. had his most productive offensive outing as a Clipper. He was a one-man hub of the offense in the minutes when Williams sat and powered his way to buckets throughout. Morris scored 23 points, his most ever in a Clippers uniform, on 7-of-14 shooting.
The Clippers recalled Amir Coffey from the G League bubble for additional depth, but didn’t even need him during the competitive portion of the game thanks to solid contributions from all their perimeter players. Another professional win for the Clippers, and they were able to keep all their players but Williams under 30 minutes with a back-to-back tomorrow.