LOS ANGELES (AP) — A day after a 26-point loss to Memphis in another matinee, the Clippers had a least three players score at least 30 points for the first time in franchise history.
Montrezl Harrell scored 34 points off the bench, reserve Lou Williams scored 32 to match starter Paul George, and Los Angeles beat the New York Knicks 135-132 last Sunday.
It was the first time in the Clippers’ history that three players scored at least 30 points. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it was the first time two players have scored 30 points off the bench in a regulation NBA game since the 1970-71 season.
“Montrezl and Lou were fantastic. History is good. Someone has to make it,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said.
Harrell didn’t say much after tying a career high and producing the seventh 30-point game of his four-year career. One day after saying the Clippers were “not a great team” following the embarrassment by Memphis, Harrell walked past reporters with a smile on his face and said, “You all have a good Sunday.”
George, who missed Saturday’s game with left hamstring tightness, said it was important to not come out flat two afternoons in a row.
“We saw Lou and Montrezl lead the way. Watching that from the bench, it got us motivated. We knew the job we had to do,” said George, who posted his seventh 30-point game this season. He was nine of 14 from the field, including five of six on three-pointers, in 32 minutes.
Both teams shot 54 per cent or more from the floor in a game that will not go down as a defensive masterpiece.
Los Angeles was up by 15 late in the third quarter and 121-110 with 7:06 remaining in the game when George fouled out. New York scored eight straight points to draw within three and was still within one possession in the final minute when Williams drove the lane and hit a floating jumper with 18.5 seconds left to make it 133-128.
Marcus Morris — who led New York with a career-high 38 points — hit a jumper with 10.4 seconds left to get the Knicks back within three, but Williams put it out reach after a timeout with a pair of free throws.
“You can win games with bad offence and good defence,” Rivers said. “Tonight people can say either the offence was phenomenal or both teams struggled defensively. The players will say one thing but the coaches will say the other.”
Rivers might be surprised that George agreed with him.