General & All Other Sports

LA Clippers beat the Hawks, Bucks, Suns in March-April, 2021

The LA Clippers have been inconsistent if late playing inspired ball at times and then coming out flat other times. The Atlanta Hawks have been on fire going 8-0 since new coach Nate McMillan  took over.  They have a slew of talent.  They were led by John Collins with 23 pts and Tre Young with 28 pts.  Capella added 12 pts and 14 rebounds (he leads the NBA in rebounding average).  It was back and forth at the start til Atlanta started to pull away in the 2nd quarter.  The Clippers struggled especially Paul George, who looked out of sorts scoring only 8 pts. They miss Serge Ibaka to clog up the middle and spark plug Patrick Beverly with his tough play, defense and intensity.  Leonard led them again ending with 25 pts but when they fell behind by 21 points half way through the 3rd quarter, Coach Ty Lue finally subbed in a whole new team led by Terrance Mann and Luke Kennard. They both brought them back with Kennard on fire making all 8 of his shots including a half court shot to end the 3rd quarter.  He ended with 20 pts and Morris Sr had 19 pts.  Mann had a double double making 8 of his 14 shots for 21 pts adding 10 rebounds. Owner Steve Ballmer was ecstatic with the comeback as the Clippers ended the game outscoring Atlanta 60-30 in the last 18 minutes.  Kennard said it was in his top 2 if not favorite game if all time.  This should get him back in the rotation as he deserves it. LA won 119-110.  Long time Clipper Lou Williams was traded to the Hawks for Rondo the next day.

The Clippers came into the game vs Milwaukee on a 6 game winning streak.  The team learned shortly before the start that Paul George would be out due to a foot injury.  With Serge Ibaka still out with a back injury, Patrick Beverly out again due to a groin and newcomer Ramon Rondo healing from a recent abductor strain, LA was short handed but they proved that they probably have the deepest bench in the NBA.  Sharp shooter Luke Kennard started in place of George and scored a season high 21 pts including 5-6 on 3 pointers and 3-3 in the 4th quarter.  He is taking his game to another level vying to get into the rotation.  Terrance Mann also has earned respect and now a key member in the rotation. He ended with.  . Leonard had another steady game with a team high 28 pts despite going 0-6 from 3 pt range.  The game was close until the second half when the Clippers caught fire and stared to pull away.  They ended up winning 129-105.  The Bucks are one of the main contenders again led by the Greek freak Giannis Antetokounmpo, who scored 26 while Jrue Holiday added 22.  Middleton was relatively quiet with 16 and Milwaukee did not have enough firepower off the bench or from others to keep it close.  They just did pickup PJ Tucker but he did not play.  Nor did Bobby Portis who has played well this season.

The Clippers are in 3rd place in the western conference as they try to get more consistent.  Adding Rondo in the trade for popular Lou Williams hopefully will pan out as they were in need of a point guard to distribute and bring the ball up.  They have plenty of shooters as Rondo also is great on defense and will give Leonard and George a break from dribbling and setting up   It can also help the team chemistry instead of so much one on one play.  Time will tell but LA is right up there to contend for a title this year but they need to stay healthy and okay smart, clutch basketball.

The other game I covered was April 8th vs. Phoenix. The Suns have been the underdog story of the NBA season. They ended last season on a tear in the bubble but barely missed the playoffs. After acquiring Chris Paul in the off season, they are now in second place in the Western Conference. They are led in scoring by Devin Booker (24 pts) while Deandre Ayton (18 pts) is a presence inside. Paul was relatively quite with 13 points and forward Bridges added 20 pts. The team has great role players and there is a lot of chemistry. They had a tough game the night before vs. Utah and lost in Overtime so a back to back vs. the tough Clippers was going to be a tall order. LA came out strong led by George and Leonard. George led the team with 33 points as he is been on a mission lately. Leonard had 27 points but the key to the game was newcomer Rondo, who had 15 points, 9 rebounds and played tough defense. Patrick Beverly returned but was ejected on a flagrant foul on Paul in the second half. The team misses Ibaka but signed DeMarcus Cousins to a 10 day contract. Final was 113-103 for LA.

The team is very deep and can beat anyone but they need to get more consistent.   All 3 of these games were at the Staples Center, still without fans in attendance.

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