The first few games in Las Vegas have been an offensive chore for the Clippers. Even as their fundamentals on both ends of the court have improved, sometimes the NBA is just a make-or-miss league.
On Sunday, the Clippers finally made some shots. They made 46 percent of their field goals and 13 3-pointers as they edged out Utah, 94-90.
The leading scorer for both teams was the previously ice-cold Amir Coffey. Coffey had 20 points, including five threes, after being unable to knock down more than one triple in any of the other three games. He also chipped in a couple of steals and assists as the rest of his floor game improved with his shooting.
Coffey and the Clippers were at their best in a stretch spanning the second and third quarters. L.A. used a 21-8 run at the end of the first half to take control of the game and extended the advantage to 13 early in the third. It helped that the team was able to get out in transition with eight fastbreak points in the third period after only two in the first two.
Jason Preston with the lob to Keon Johnson. pic.twitter.com/4hweWfjpPO— Justin Russo (@FlyByKnite) August 15, 2021
The Jazz could never get all the way back and never had the ball with a chance to tie late, allowing the Clippers to end up on top. This win is the first for L.A. in Las Vegas, and it also eliminated Utah from the Summer League championship.
It wasn’t just Coffey who found his way for the Clippers Sunday — the threes were distributed up and down the roster. Keon Johnson made three triples and fellow rookie Jason Preston cashed in on both of his. Preston also looked more comfortable running the show than he had been in previous contests. The Clippers emphasized getting the ball in his hands, and he was able to knife his way to the basket and deliver on-target skip passes.
Brandon Boston Jr. also gave a lift when he entered the game. The lone rostered Clipper who comes off the bench for the Summer League team continues to show his scoring chops. Whether it’s knocking down his corner threes — he made the first five he’s taken in Las Vegas — or blowing by his defender to get all the way to the cup, Boston is showing an expanding bag of tools that wasn’t always visible in his collegiate days.
The Clippers have one more game in Las Vegas, a consolation matchup that will be played on Monday or Tuesday.