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The first preseason game is in the books as the Clippers leaned on Tobias Harris to get them a victory against the feisty Sydney Kings, 110-91.

Los Angeles never trailed during the victory in Hawaii, opening the game on a 9-0 run and playing lock down defense in the second half to beat the Kings who were able to stay within 4 to 10 points of the Clippers for most of the game. Coach Doc Rivers started the game with a lineup of Patrick Beverley, Avery Bradley, Tobias Harris, Danilo Galinari, and Marcin Gortat, and deployed a 10 man rotation throughout. This gave the game a little more of a “mid-season” feel to it rotation wise as established players, and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, we’re able to get into sets and rotations fans will most likely see a lot during the season.

shaivskings

Photo: Darryl Oumi/Getty Images

The usual suspects contributed offensively for the Clippers with Tobias Harris leading the team with 20 and Danilo Galinari adding 19. It was fantastic to see the ball movement and spacing capabilities with Harris and Galinari on the floor together despite not having a ton of minutes on court last year. Danilo Galinari looked a little shaky from beyond the arc going 1-6 but Tobias Harris displayed no rust on his game going 4-7 from three point land. Marcin Gortat was a beast on the offensive glass gobbling up 4 offensive boards and constantly making his presence felt down low.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander ran with the second unit which consisted of him, Lou Williams, Mike Scott, Luc Mbah a Moute, and Montrezl Harrell. It was refreshing to see a rookie get substantial minutes for Doc Rivers, and Gilgeous-Alexander didn’t disappoint putting up 10 points, 4 assists, and 4 steals. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander looked velvety smooth when running the pick and roll and when on the court with the starters (and spacing) was aggressive getting into the lane culminating in 5 free throw attempts.

louvskings

Photo: Darryl Oumi/Getty Images

Overall the offense looked balanced than in recent years and the ball movement was encouraging as the Clippers racked up 31 assists on 41 made shots. The first unit passed the ball well and the connection between Tobias Harris and Danilo Galinari should prove difficult for opposing teams to lock down if the ball movement stays this fluid. Defensively the Clippers looked a little wonky in the first half giving up 54 points, but locked the Kings down in the third and fourth quarters only allowing 37 in the second half. There were a lot of active hands in passing lanes and Patrick Beverley looked like his old self pestering opponents into mistakes and getting the opposing offense off-rhythm.

Having passed the first test of the preseason the Clippers face the Minnesota Timberwolves at Staples Center on Wednesday at 7:30 pm.


Photo: Darryl Oumi/Getty Images
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