The Clippers won their home opener against the Dallas Mavericks on Thursday, 104-88. Here are five takeaways from that game.
1. The Clippers aren’t fazed by Mark Cuban
Before Thursday’s game, Cuban made some incendiary remarks about the Clippers, including the following comment: “Look, the Clippers are the Clippers. You can change the players, you can change the owner, but the Clippers are just who they’ve been for the last 30 years.”
Rivers, when informed after Thursday’s game of Cuban’s comments, didn’t seem upset. Responded Rivers: “That’s so hurtful, I don’t know what to do. Hey, listen, we are the Clippers. That’s my answer.”
2. Blake Griffin is on fire
Griffin led all scorers with 26 points on 11-for-17 shooting in 26 minutes against the Mavericks. The previous night, he had a game-high 33 points on 14-for-20 shooting from the field, eight rebounds and four assists in the Clippers’ 111-104 win over the Sacramento Kings.
“He’s been great offensively and defensively, and that’s what you want out of him,” Rivers said. “His energy, his leadership. He’s approaching this season with the best -- where he’s at, has just been phenomenal for us.”
3. The Clippers didn’t turn the ball over much
The Clippers had only eight turnovers in Thursday’s win, while the Mavericks had 13. Rivers called that “the stat of the game.”
Said Rivers: “It’s hard to play with pace and not turn the ball over, and today we did that, which is wonderful. And the fact that we made a bunch of extra passes ... that’s good to great basketball.”
Clippers forward Blake Griffin is called for charging into Mavericks guard Devin Harris in the first half Thursday night at Staples Center.(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)
Clippers center DeAndre Jordan is fouled by Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki in the first half.(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)
Clippers point guard Chris Paul is fouled by Mavericks point guard Raymond Felton while driving to the basket in the first half Thursday night at Staples Center.(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)
Mavericks owner Mark Cuban listens to a referee during a timeout at the Staples Center on Thursday night.(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)
Clippers forward Blake Griffin is fouled by Mavericks forward Jeremy Evans during a play in the first half.(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)
Clippers guard Austin Rivers drives between Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki, left, and center Zaza Pachulia for a layup in the first half.(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)
Clippers forward Blake Griffin reacts after making a basket against the Mavericks in the first half.(Jae C. Hong / Associated Press)
Clippers forward Blake Griffin drives against Mavericks forward Dwight Powell on Thursday night.(Jae C. Hong / Associated Press)
Clippers forward Paul Pierce (34) reaches for a rebound against Mavericks forwards Jeremy Evans (21) and Dirk Nowitzki (41) in the second half.(Jae C. Hong / Associated Press)
4. The second unit is looking good
The Clippers added nine players during the off-season, including 10-time All-Star Paul Pierce, Lance Stephenson, Josh Smith and Wesley Johnson. The team’s bench -- which includes two-time sixth man of the year Jamal Crawford and Austin Rivers, whom the team re-signed over the summer -- is much, much deeper.
In the Clippers’ first two regular-season games, Doc Rivers said he has been impressed by what he’s seen from his reserves. In Thursday’s win, Crawford and Austin Rivers scored 15 points and 14 points, respectively. In Wednesday’s win, Pierce, the Clippers’ newest fourth-quarter weapon, scored 11 of the game’s final 15 points, helping his team secure the victory after the game was tied late in the fourth quarter.
Said Doc Rivers of the team’s reserves: “They create problems -- just their ability to space the floor and attack off the dribble.”
5. Clippers to host Sacramento in rematch
The Clippers have opened their season with a 2-0 record, their next game being against the Sacramento Kings on Saturday at Staples Center. Rivers likes what he’s seen from his team so far: “It’s a long season but right now we’re in a great place, and we’ve got to stay there. But we have so many more tests ahead of us as far as growth, as far as playing better. Two games doesn’t make a season, but you’d rather win them then lose them.”
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