The Los Angeles Clippers exploded in the third quarter to down the Golden State Warriors, without Steph Curry and Andrew Wiggins, 134-124.
Kawhi Leonard led the charge once again, scoring 13 points in the aforementioned frame and 33 points in total, on 12-for-17 from the field and career-high-tying 7 threes. However, the biggest takeaways from the win came by way of what the new guys brought, as Mason Plumlee, Bones Hyland and Eric Gordon all made their Clippers debuts.
Here is how they fared…
The first of the new faces to check in was Plumlee, entering the game as a straight swap for Ivica Zubac. Within 30 seconds, he had his first points on the board, courtesy of a Bones assist. He would only take one more shot for the remainder of the game, a putback layup which he converted, but it was as much what he did outside of his scoring stats that would have Clippers fans excited.
He finished with a +6, including five rebounds – two of which came on the offensive glass – three assists and he even grabbed himself a steal. Two of his assists came by way of dribble handoffs while screen setting, while the third was an outlet pass to Norman Powell, who he showed early chemistry with as part of the bench unit.
All round, it was a positive first display for the Plumdog Millionaire, and he looks like a player that will take to the backup center role on this team with ease.
Hyland was the second of the new faces to check in for the Clippers and he instantly brought the energy, driving to the basket and assisting Plumlee below it on his first offense. His first bucket came from deep, spotting up and scoring after a Nicolas Batum steal.
It was a quiet shooting night for the sophomore, but the standout numbers on the box score were his three rebounds, as he continued to capitalize on the Warriors defense not getting themselves out quick enough.
His youthful exuberance saw him clock up five fouls before he sat for the remainder of the game, but it is already easy to see what Bones brings to the squad and how he fits into the rotation.
EG the PG
Gordon was the final member of the new trio to make his debut, and he may have had the most understated performance considering his impact. After checking in with just under three minutes left in the first, his points in the game came within 30 seconds of the second, after he drew a foul on a three-point attempt.
Like Bones, the comeback Clipper had a quiet shooting night. However, he made a big impact on the defensive end, with three rebounds and two blocks, showing quick hands and instincts on that side of the ball early on. He moved the rock well too, with three assists while showing his ability to cut to the basket and feed shooters on the perimeter.
It was an exciting game on the whole, helped by the Warriors gung-ho style, but the fresh faces gave it that bit of extra intrigue for Clippers fans. On first impression, there is plenty more to come for each of their new heroes.