Prior to last night’s game against the Grizzlies, Ty Lue was asked how much of the playbook he planned on using given that Yogi Ferrell had just joined the team two days before.
He made the following gesture.
It was fair to have muted expectations of Ferrell’s potential impact on the Clippers considering his lack of practice time. DeMarcus Cousins had been with the team for just over two weeks, and Lue said that Cousins still wasn’t familiar with most of their plays, so what chance did Ferrell have?
The beauty of being a point guard, though, is that Ferrell had the ball in his hands. That gave him the opportunity to dictate the flow of the game. Lue trusted Ferrell’s feel, and that helped lead to a Clippers win. His night may have started off a little rocky, as he missed all three of his shots in the first half. But he took care of the ball, worked to find a rhythm, and ended with eight points, seven assists, and no turnovers. The Clippers outscored the Grizzlies by 15 points in Ferrell’s 20 minutes in their 12-point victory.
“First half, I thought might have been a little nervous, but I told him before the game started, just be yourself,” Lue said about Ferrell’s performance. “Don’t try to fit in. If you are doing too much, I’ll let you know. We need you to be aggressive. Use your speed and attack and make plays. I thought he did that. Hats off to him for just only playing 40 minutes this year but coming to a new team and playing the way he did was huge for us.”
Ferrell really started to find his flow at the end of the third quarter, when he produced one of the highlights of the night. He stole the ball from Brandon Clarke on a defensive rebound, and then lobbed it to Terance Mann for the finish.
The new point guard didn’t come out of the game after that. He scored or assisted on 19 points in the fourth quarter. Both times Memphis pulled within one point, Ferrell made sure the Clippers scored on the ensuing possession, whether that was collapsing the defense and kicking out to Patrick Patterson for a 3-pointer or using an Ivica Zubac screen to pull up for a free-throw line jumper.
Ferrell got everyone involved on the offensive end, spreading his seven assists to six different teammates. He also created free throws for Zubac, though those don’t show up in the assist column. He fit right in, despite just joining the team, and made what had been a disjointed offense two quarters earlier hum.
“A lot of guys have been getting me really acclimated just with the offense,” Ferrell said postgame. “They’re in my ear basically every play telling me to go out there and lead the team, be positive.... The culture of this team is great. Everybody’s positive, nobody gets down, you know, they want you to shoot the shot if you’re open. They’re not pointing fingers. When we were down, nobody was pointing fingers. We just stayed in the fight, played defense, played together and when you got all those things clicking, that’s how we can win.”
That’s what the Clippers keep doing no matter the circumstance: win. Ferrell has received that message loud and clear.
More news for Thursday:
- Make sure you check out Alicia’s recap from another fun one Wednesday.
- Nekias Duncan explains how Rajon Rondo improves the Clippers’ pressure on the rim with his otherworldly passing.
- Chris Vernon and Kevin O’Connor discuss why people should take the Clippers seriously. Duh, but at least the national consensus is coming around.
- Ryan Snellings breaks down what DeMarcus Cousins brings to the Clippers.
- Joel Embiid had the greatest missed shot I’ve ever seen.
Joel Embiid was THIS CLOSE to sending it to OT in incredible fashion. pic.twitter.com/gw6eFGiml8— NBA (@NBA) April 22, 2021