Patrick Beverley has epitomized the heart and toughness of the Clippers, and so when he grabbed his right elbow after a spill onto the Staples Center court in the third quarter, got up and ran to the locker room, there was no question that the guard was hurt.
The Clippers later announced that Beverley had injured his right wrist.
He returned to the game to start the fourth quarter wearing a black brace on his arm and his wrist was taped.
But later in the fourth quarter of the Clippers’ 120-107 loss to the Utah Jazz on Saturday night, Beverley waved toward the bench and asked to be taken out. He departed with 8 minutes 6 seconds left holding his wrist, a grimace from pain showing on his face.
His team was unable to hold off six Jazz players scoring in double figures, led by Donovan Mitchell’s 30 points and Jordan Clarkson’s 19 points off the bench. The Clippers also were unable to slow down the Jazz from three-point range, watching Utah make 48.6% (17 for 35) of them. Joe Ingles led the Jazz with five three-pointers.
Kawhi Leonard, who was held to 19 points on six-for-24 shooting, said any illness bug was not to blame for the loss.
“Definitely me,” he admitted of a lack of energy, “but it was nothing to do with our performance tonight. We had a chance to win the game. We missed some open shots.”
Ivica Zubac led the charge for the Clippers in the first quarter, playing with energy and hustling all over the court.
The Clippers were going to need all they could get from Zubac because backup center Montrezl Harrell had been scratched right before the game with what the Clippers said was an illness.
Zubac scored 12 first-quarter points to tie his career high for points in any quarter, and that was a good sign for the Clippers and the 22-year-old center.
He grabbed eight rebounds to help the Clippers take a 10-point lead after one quarter. He was four for six from the field in the first and four for four from the free-throw line.
But the Jazz fought their way back into the game by hitting three-pointers from all over the court. Utah made six of eight three-pointers in the second quarter, ending the period with back-to-back threes by that cut the Clippers’ lead to 63-61 at halftime.
Beverley drove to the basket and went by 7-1 center Rudy Gobert, tumbling after he had gone airborne, falling hard on the court. After Beverley grabbed his elbow, he clutched his wrist a few seconds later.
He dashed off the court and toward the locker room as play continued, forcing the Clippers to call a timeout with 10:02 left to get another player on the court, inserting Lou Williams.
The Clippers appeared stung by seeing Beverley leave the court, falling behind by 10 points in the third quarter.
The Clippers had already moved past having played the marquee Christmas Day game against the Lakers and knew the Jazz represented another tough opponent.
“I mean we haven’t done anything yet. We are just now getting to Christmas, there’s no awards given where you’re placed by Christmas or by the halfway point or whatever,” Landry Shamet said at the Clippers’ shoot-around earlier Saturday. “I think it starts from the top down and [Coach] Doc [Rivers] does a good job of not letting us be stagnant and complacent, comfortable.”