Kawhi Leonard, Clippers pulls out of Warriors as newcomer debut – Orange County Register

LOS ANGELES — Clippers coach Tyronn Lue said he estimated it would take their three new players six to eight games to fully adjust to the rotation and understand the offense and their defensive plans.

But with just 22 games left in the regular season, Lue doesn’t have the luxury to talk long about Clippers basketball. The newcomers have to learn quickly.

“We don’t have much longer, like you said, just 23 games left,” Lue said, “so we have to make sure we’re trying to integrate these guys or integrate different lineups and situations, but also make sure that we.” Win games and that’s the most important thing.

Newcomers Bones Hyland, Eric Gordon and Mason Plumlee got their first Test Tuesday night, each playing significant minutes in a 134-124 win over the Golden State Warriors that put the Clippers (32-28) back in fifth place in the Western Conference brought a half ahead of Dallas (31-28).

But when it came down to it, it was the regulars who established the Clippers’ victory and ended their two-game losing streak.

Kawhi Leonard had 33 points on 12-of-17 shooting, including a career-high seven 3-point shots. Norman Powell came off the bench for 24 points, Paul Goerge had 20 points and eight assists, and Terance Mann added 16 points, four rebounds and six assists.

As far as debuts go, Hyland, Plumlee, and Gordon each had several highs and some expected lows.

Hyland’s offensive rebound and layup gave the Clippers a 96-89 lead with three minutes remaining in the third quarter. But Hyland also had three fouls in the first half and two more in the second, limiting him to 15 minutes.

With his long reach, Plumlee grabbed the ball in mid-air and quickly moved towards the basket before passing it. He had no points or rebounds in his first eight minutes but finished with eight points and five rebounds in 17 minutes.

Gordon did well in his game back in a Clippers jersey after 13 seasons with seven points and three assists in 22 minutes. The new trio made just one turnover in their 54 combined minutes together.

“I thought they did a great job,” said Lue. “Especially that second unit, who just up the pace on misses and hits, get the ball on the ground quickly and attack early before defense can set.

“I thought Mason did a good job getting the ball wide quickly and when he rebounded the ball he jumped out and then made the early advance that allowed us to get some easy baskets. It was nice to see the boys and how they played. I like what I saw tonight.”

George was impressed by how quickly the new trio played after practice.

“I thought they looked great, looked like they had chemistry,” George said. “I mean, they’re professionals. They came at short notice. I got the plays down and I just thought they looked good together. They played with great energy. That second unit had some juice.”

The Clippers’ win came against a Warriors (29-29) team that was without injured All-Stars Steph Curry and Andrew Wiggins (due to personal reasons), a day after he lit up the Washington Wizards with 29 points.

Even All-Star guard Klay Thompson wasn’t his usual dominant self as he played in both games back-to-back for the first time this season. He scored 18 points in 28 minutes.

But the Warriors had Jordan Poole, who led the team with 28 points and six assists, and Draymond Green, who added 15 points, seven assists and five rebounds. Four other Golden State players hit double digits, including UCLA product Kevon Looney (11 points, 14 rebounds).

The Clippers used a 12-2 run in the first quarter to open a 16-7 lead and stopped the Warriors from gaining momentum to hold a 31-23 lead after the first quarter. In the second it was a different story.

https://www.ocregister.com/2023/02/14/kawhi-leonard-clippers-pull-away-from-warriors-as-newcomers-debut/ Kawhi Leonard, Clippers pulls out of Warriors as newcomer debut – Orange County Register

Russell Falcon

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