The sample size was just one game, but that was enough to give the Clippers hope that forwards Danilo Gallinari and Tobias Harris can become a dual threat at their position.
They combined for 48 points on 18-for-33 shooting, including six of 11 from three-point range, in their first game together since Harris was dealt to the club as part of the Blake Griffin trade from the Detroit Pistons.
Gallinari, the power forward, had 24 points on eight-for-14 shooting, three of five from long range.
Harris, the small forward, also had 24 points on 10-for-19 shooting, making three of six three-pointers.
“I think if you look around the league now, that’s the name of the game, is having dual forwards who play different positions and they feed off each other,” Harris said Saturday afternoon. “I played with a guy Marcus Morris (in Detroit) who was able to create mismatches. So I have a good feel for that and I think we really complement each other well out there.”
Gallinari and Harris frequently ran pick-and-roll plays with each other, often finding themselves wide open in the process.
They even worked together with DeAndre Jordan, both Gallinari and Harris coming off screens set by the center.
“Tobias and Gallo were phenomenal tonight,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. “It’s just trying to figure out what you have with those two. Early on, when we start the three guys — Gallo, Tobias and D.J. — you’re going to have to put a three (small forward) on one of them. And we took advantage of that by posting up Tobias. So you’re going to have a matchup that you can create every night. I thought the switching with that size was great.”
The Clippers now have to keep building on what they established against the Chicago Bulls on Saturday. The Dallas Mavericks are next for the Clippers on Monday night at Staples Center.
The team will then take Tuesday off and practice Wednesday and Thursday.
“For us, it’s just games. We’ve got to get through this next game and then at least we have a couple of more days to practice,” Rivers said. “Those practices will be really important, because after watching them two games in, we can kind of get a feel on what to do.”
There are still a lot more things for them all to learn.
Harris and Avery Bradley, who also arrived as part of the Griffin trade, still have to learn the entire offense.
All of the Clippers have to learn how to play together with the new faces.
“It’s just taking the next step,” Harris said, adding of Saturday’s game, “I thought tonight we still need to do a little bit better job of closing out, especially when we’ve got the lead. We kind of let them slip back in. We’ve just got to impose our will a little bit more, clean up some things defensively that I think can help us. Like I said, we just kind of got together, but we’re expecting good things.”
When: 7:30 p.m. PST, Monday
On the air: TV: Prime Ticket; Radio: 570, 1330.
Update: The Mavericks are shooting 44.6% from the field, ranking them 26th in the NBA. They are averaging 40.7 rebounds per game, tied for 26th in the league.