Gilgeous-Alexander takes another step as Clippers end perfect exhibition season against Maccabi Haifa
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander had just completed a shooting drill before a recent Clippers practice when assistant coach Sam Cassell walked over and sat in a chair with a computer in his hand.
The two began to watch video, the pupil and the teacher starting another lesson.
Gilgeous-Alexander, the Clippers’ promising rookie point guard, has no shortage of instructors to help him along this journey.
The help can come from veteran guards Avery Bradley, Patrick Beverley and Lou Williams.
The assistance can also come from coach Doc Rivers, who played 13 years in the NBA as a guard.
“A lot of guys on this roster and the coaching staff has been through this, Doc, including himself,” Gilgeous-Alexander said. “And they were really good at it. So, it would be silly for me to not pick their brains and try to get better myself.”
Gilgeous-Alexander took another step in his development Thursday night in the Clippers’ 124-76 exhibition win over Maccabi Haifa at Staples Center.
As a reserve, he finished with seven points and seven assists in 16 minutes.
“When you’re a rookie, every day is a learning phase,” Gilgeous-Alexander said. “It’s from almost every angle, how to take care of your body, when to rest, stuff like that. Also, on the court, I’ve learned so much in just a couple of weeks.”
Gilgeous-Alexander saw how his veteran teammates competed in the Clippers’ exhibition finale even though the opponent was not an NBA team.
By the half, the Clippers had built a 70-35 lead, allowing Rivers to rest his starters in the second half.
Danilo Gallinari scored 12 points in only 14 minutes. Tobias Harris scored nine, also in 14 minutes.
Boban Marjanovic started the second half at center and led the Clippers with 18 points and 12 rebounds, another strong showing by the big man.
The Clippers will open the regular season Wednesday night against the Denver Nuggets at Staples Center.
Before then, they were happy to reach one important goal.
“Well, the goal for every preseason game is exactly the same: stay healthy, obviously,” Rivers said. “But you also want to work on your stuff. Every day we’re together we should be a better team, because we have so many new parts and new people — or old people that are new because they didn’t play last year.
“I tell our guys that every day. Every day we’re together we should be a little better.”
Rivers was asked why it mattered for his team to finish its five-game exhibition season undefeated.
“It doesn’t,” he said. “I guess you can say for a team that hasn’t been together, anytime you can see a win that’s a good thing rather than seeing losses. So, I think that’s good.
“But it doesn’t mean much. But it just means that you can win a game.”
Rivers held out forward Mike Scott for “rest” and Luc Mbah a Moute sat out for the fourth game in a game because of a strained right calf. Rivers said he hoped that Mbah a Moute would be available for the season opener.
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