Patrick Beverley’s return to Staples Center could not have been scripted any better for the Clippers. One night after he helped the Minnesota Timberwolves blow out the Lakers, his former team honored him with a video tribute, then held him to five points en route to a 129-102 blowout for its seventh consecutive victory.
Losing on the second night of a back-to-back was not the way Beverley and his new team wanted to end a four-game road trip, especially considering it was his first game against the Clippers in their arena since he was traded to the Memphis Grizzlies in a multiplayer deal for Eric Bledsoe in August. Beverley was dealt to Minnesota just two days later.
With the win, the Clippers (8-4) clinched the season series with Minnesota, having already won the first two matchups in Minnesota (126-115 on Nov. 3 and 104-84 two nights later), and made it six victories in a row against the Timberwolves dating to last season. The teams do not meet again until Jan. 3, also in Los Angeles.
Paul George averaged 26.5 points in the first two games against Minnesota, and he led the Clippers with 23 points and nine rebounds Saturday as six players scored in double figures. Ivica Zubac had 10 points and 12 rebounds, and Eric Bledsoe had 14 points and nine assists. Off the bench, Terence Mann scored 16 points and Isaiah Hartenstein added 12 points and 12 rebounds. The Clippers finished with 35 assists.
Point guard Reggie Jackson was the Clippers’ most efficient shooter in the previous two games against Minnesota, and he had the hot hand again Saturday with 21 points (including three three-pointers), draining nine of 16 shots from the field. He has scored 20 or more points in six of his last seven games.
“First of all, can we give a shout out for Pat [Beverley], please?” Jackson exhorted the fans moments after the final horn sounded. “We’re putting things together, we’re spacing the floor, and we’re making the right reads. It’s great playing on our home court and having our fans supporting us.”
Kawhi Leonard (knee), Jason Preston (foot) and Marcus Morris Sr. (knee) were all out because of injuries, and 13-year NBA veteran Serge Ibaka remains in the G League, where he asked to go earlier in the week for more playing time and to sharpen his skills following a lackluster performances in limited minutes against Charlotte and Portland after he returned from back surgery.
The Clippers had 70 points at halftime — their highest total in one half all season — and led by 27. Beverley tallied five points on two-for-five shooting in 16 minutes over the first two quarters and played only seven minutes without a point in the second half.
Whenever Ibaka returns to the Clippers (the Agua Caliente Clippers are scheduled to play a back-to-back set in Stockton on Sunday and Monday), it will be a welcome sight for a team that has been without Leonard since the start of the season and lost Morris to a knee injury after one game.
The tribute to Beverley highlighted the hustle and defense that made him a fan favorite during his four years in a Clippers uniform. Entering play Saturday, he was averaging 7.9 points, 5.1 assists and 4.9 rebounds per game for Minnesota. Before joining the Clippers in 2017, he spent five seasons in Houston, winning the NBA Hustle Award in his final year with the Rockets.
Anthony Edwards led the Timberwolves (4-8) with 21 points. D’Angelo Russell, who had 22 points, seven assists and five rebounds the night before against the Lakers, added 15 points and eight assists, and Jaden McDaniels also had 15 points, but Karl Anthony Towns, who scored 29 points the night before, was held to eight.
When: 6:30 p.m. Sunday
On the air: TV: Bally Sports SoCal; Radio: 570, 1330
Update: The Bulls (8-4) enter the game in a chase for the Eastern Conference’s top spot. Chicago will be without two-time All-Star center Nikola Vucevic (health protocols) and second-year forward Patrick Williams, who played five games before needing wrist surgery. Clippers center Serge Ibaka remains on a rehabilitation assignment in the G League.
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.
Source: Yahoo Sports