LOS ANGELES No Kawhi Leonard. No Paul George.
Is Lou Williams available?
Then no problem.
Williams, the Clippers Sixth Man extraordinaire, took his turn as the lead on Sunday night. The 34-year-old Guard hit the starting lineup for the first time since February 11, 2020, orchestrating a convincing 128-111 victory over a massive Cleveland squad.
Cavaliers coach JB Bickerstaff pregame acknowledged that for the Cavaliers who lost their seventh consecutive game to drop to 10-18, there’s no magical pixie dust we can sprinkle on us saying get out of this grind.
And while fate would have given Cleveland a chance by setting them up with a Clippers squad that was without All-Stars Kawhi Leonard and Paul George for the third time this season, Williams was mesmerized from the jump for the short-handed Clippers .
Leonard was scratched on Sunday for a bruise in the left lower leg and George who was on the field shooting and talking to team owner Steve Ballmer pregame missed his fifth straight game due to swelling in a right toe.
But Williams, three-time NBA Sixth Man of the Year, the professional scorer, Underground GOAT, your favorite player’s favorite, lent its particular brilliance to the proceedings.
Knowing that I’m going to be the third offensive player on this basketball team, with the first two out, allows me to be more aggressive at the offensive end and play for me and my teammates, Williams said after the game, via a Zoom video conference Just try to create as many opportunities as possible and be efficient.
The result: an efficient 30 points and 10 assists in 32 minutes, his first double-double since 2019, as the Clippers were still playing fanless at Staples Center due to local coronavirus safety guidelines, which triggered a five-game homestand extend their current profit. streak to three games and improved to 20-8.
Trust. Hes confidence, Terance Mann, an NBA sophomore, said of Williams after the previous Clippers win in Chicago. He just brings that confident swagger with him. He can pick you up if you don’t feel your game, he’s a big confident guy and with him next to you you almost feel like yourself too.
Williams felt it on Sunday, and so did the Clippers.
He set the tone and the tempo, darting back and forth and downing shots to continue his scoring wave with a season high lately; in his past five games, the light 6-foot-1 guard averaged 23 points on 52.6% shooting.
Williams put his teammates on Sunday with gusto and passed in stride and against the money.
His 10 assists were also a season high, adding to the Clippers’ 31 total, the fourth time this season they hit that threshold. Gazing center Serge Ibaka also assists with that number, tying his career record with six assists plus a season-high 21 points and nine rebounds.
On Sunday, Williams marked the 20th double-double of his career and his first since November 27, 2019, taking in a win over Memphis when he had 13 best assists of his career.
And it was the fifth game in Williams’s 15-plus-year career when he scored 30 or more points and 10 or more assists.
Like Williams, Marcus Morris Sr. back to where he left off in Chicago, where he made five three-pointers in the fourth quarter and, together with Williams, had 26 points in the last period.
Against Cleveland, Morris scored a season-high 23 points off the bench in 7-for-14 shots, including 4 for 6 from a 3-point range.
And Patrick Beverley returned 20 action-packed minutes in his third game after missing eight games with right knee pain, earning 16 points to bring his career total to 4,000, an achievement he was proud of: 4K! he exclaimed, sipping a festive Bud Light during his post-game comments.
For the record, Beverley also added six rebounds and five assists and a few characteristically dynamic defensive pieces.
Cool lately, Luke Kennard also got off to a bit of his feet with 12 points on 4-for-9 shots.
Despite four members of the Cavaliers scoring in double digits, Collin Sexton had 22 and Darius Garland added 20, like Cedi Osman, they were unable to gain ground after falling behind 32-24 in the opening period.
The Clippers will wait to hear when Leonard and George are fit to return and, with or without them, will try to extend their winning streak against the Heat on Monday, against which LA came back from 18 points to win without George and Leonard on. Jan 28 in Miami.
– NBA (@NBA) February 15, 2021
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