CLEVELAND — There are signs of improved play from the Clippers’ reserve unit.
That was evident Thursday night against the Memphis Grizzlies, when the Clippers’ bench players combined for 50 of Los Angeles’ 101 points.
Three of the substitutes scored in double figures and another was one point shy against the Grizzlies.
In their last six games, the Clippers’ reserves have outscored their counterparts, 246-126, an average of 20 points per game.
“I just think they’re starting to find their way,” said Clippers Coach Doc Rivers. “They’re getting used to it, especially the defensive coverages.”
The one constant for the Clippers’ second unit has been Jamal Crawford, who had 15 points, three assists and three rebounds against Memphis. Crawford is tied for the third-highest scoring average (15.8 points per game) on the team.
But lately, it has been about more than just Crawford.
Darren Collison, who had 15 points against Memphis, appears to be settling into his role as the backup point guard.
Backup center Ryan Hollins has helped on defense, veteran forward Antawn Jamison is starting to find his shot and rookie guard Reggie Bullock is making strides.
“Jamal is playing great, so that helps the second unit,” Rivers said. “So is Ryan, and DC [Collison] is starting to pick it up as well. I just think each guy is getting more comfortable with each other, with the system. It’s been good. We’re going to need it.”
Jamison making strides
After not playing in the first 14 games, Jamison has played in the last six games for the Clippers.
He had his best game this season with 11 points on three-for-five shooting — all of them three-pointers — against the Grizzlies on Thursday night. He also had four rebounds.
Jamison, a 15-year veteran, said he had to work hard to stay in shape and keep his conditioning.
“My legs are fine,” he said. “I’m starting to feel good.”
Jamison is making only 37.5% of his shots so far but said he’s still trying to get his rhythm back. He is making 55.6% of his three-pointers (five for nine).
Jamison also said that he’s starting to find a groove playing with Crawford.
“It’s been there. It’s just been me not making shots,” Jamison said. “He [Crawford] loves it when I’m involved. He knows that you really have to pick your poison. I set a pick and either my man has to guard him and they switch or it’s two guys on him and I just create as much space as possible.”