LOS ANGELES -- While the Los Angeles Lakers are still searching for their first preseason win and a consistent second unit, the Los Angeles Clippers have had little trouble in either department. On Monday night the Clippers won their third preseason game 88-71 over the Golden State Warriors, and were powered by a second unit that doubled the Clippers’ lead in the first half and kept it intact during the second half.
Here are five takeaways from the game:
1. Jordan plays strong, confident
You had to imagine it was going to be a good day for Clippers center DeAndre Jordan after he scored on a low-post move on the first possession of the game. Jordan was so confident Monday night that he even attempted a shot outside the paint (although he missed it), which he does with the regularity of a solar eclipse. Jordan had 13 points and eight rebounds in the first half, and finished with 18 points and 12 rebounds in just 24 minutes. He had a couple of monster putbacks and was on the other end of a pair of lob dunks from Chris Paul. Jordan is at his best when he is involved offensively early; that was the case Monday, as he was a force not only on offense but on defense. He finished with three blocked shots and six rebounds on the defensive end.
2. Deep thoughts
Every Clippers player has said this current team is the deepest he's ever been on, and that was apparent when the Clippers went to their bench Monday and brought in Eric Bledsoe, Jamal Crawford, Matt Barnes, Ronny Turiaf and Ryan Hollins. In the second quarter alone, Barnes, Bledsoe, Hollins and Turiaf scored at least four points apiece as the Clippers’ bench outscored the Warriors’ bench 19-4 in the first half. The Clippers' bench outscored the Warriors 32-22 for the game and not only sustained leads but built on them. The Clippers' bench, of course, will only get better once Lamar Odom, Grant Hill and Chauncey Billups return to the lineup.
3. Paint ball
The most impressive stat from Monday’s game (and there were plenty) was the Clippers’ 48-34 advantage in paint points, which was 40-20 at one point in the second half before Blake Griffin and Jordan were taken out. Griffin and Jordan got what they wanted early and often, and were the aggressors down low from the opening tip. Even players such as Hollins and Turiaf had their way in the paint when they got into the game. The Clippers have the ability to score from the outside, and Paul has the ability to find open players on the court, but if the Clippers can establish their frontcourt presence early, they will be tough to beat.
4. CP3 tries to push it
Since he returned to the court from offseason thumb surgery, Paul has wanted to push himself and play his normal 36-38 minutes in a game, which he has yet to do. He played only 26 minutes Monday as the game got out of hand, but he finished with 11 points, nine assists and three rebounds. He likely will see more minutes against the Lakers on Wednesday.
“He wants to get ready to go for the start of the season and play his normal minutes,” Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro said. “He wants to get in better game shape because he missed some time in the first couple of preseason games and didn’t play a lot, but he feels pretty good. He wants to be out there, but with three games in four days, we have to manage it a little bit.”
5. Odom and Hill still out
Perhaps the only real downside from Monday’s game was the continued absence of Hill and Odom, who have not practiced or played in a game since the team returned from China ... and might not until the regular season begins next week, as they deal with bone bruises in their knees. Odom also is dealing with conditioning issues after coming into training camp overweight.
“Lamar and Grant are not practicing or playing right now,” Del Negro said. “Lamar and Grant are dealing with some bone bruises right now. Grant’s is probably a little bit worse than Lamar’s. Everyone handles those things differently. They’re doing all the things that don’t have anything to do with pounding, like the elliptical, pool and all the condition things they can. They’re both feeling better, which is a good sign.”