Eric Bledsoe scored 27 points and tied a season-high with four made 3-pointers in the Clippers’ improbable win over Brooklyn Saturday. But the number that really stands out from Bledsoe’s stat line is 37, as in the number of games Bledsoe has now played this season, which just happens to be all of the Clippers’ games thus far.
Bledsoe is now the only Clipper to appear in every single game for the team in the 2021-22 season, and that stat is exactly the reason why the Clippers were right to trade for him this offseason. While Patrick Beverley has played in 24 of Minnesota’s 36 contests and Rajon Rondo has played for the Lakers in 18 of 38 tries, Bledsoe hasn’t missed a game. In fact, he’s played more minutes (990) than those other two combined (962).
The Clippers have needed Bledsoe’s defense. They’ve needed his ability to get downhill and collapse the defense, particularly in transition. They’ve needed his clutch shot-making.
But more than anything, they have relied upon his durability, knowing that during all of the instability that has plagued this team — and the league — over the first three months of the season, Bledsoe can be counted on every single night. Ty Lue noted that Bledsoe was under the weather Wednesday, but he still suited up in Boston and contributed 17 points and four assists in the win.
As players come in and out of the lineup, and on and off the roster, there is great comfort in having a floor general to direct the Clippers no matter what. When Bledsoe plays and has the ball in his hands, he has done a good job of marshaling his team and providing some consistency at point guard when there are essentially no constants anywhere else.
This has been a strength of Bledsoe’s throughout his career — he’s available. And that means so much for the Clippers in this moment.
More news for Monday:
- The Clippers have three players and a coach currently in health and safety protocols. The NBA has just shortened the mandatory quarantine period to five days.
- I enjoyed Chris Herring’s NBA superlatives from 2021. ESPN’s 2021 roundtable is also a fun read. And I did a Clippers-specific recap of the past year.
- Mirjam Swanson recounted Terance Mann’s breakout 2021. Law Murray examined Mann’s mentorship.
- Law also made some predictions for the Clippers in 2022.
- Andrew Greif profiled the Clippers’ newest hometown boy, James Ennis III.
- Ben Cohen on the treasure trove of NBA history living in a bunker.
- This was an interesting look at the most consistent and inconsistent players in the league, prominently featuring one Clipper.
- And finally, what a great photo of Mann’s game-clinching three in Brooklyn.