It had been a long time since Eric Bledsoe had left the bench regularly.
Before leaving the bench for the Los Angeles Clippers, Bledsoe had started 561 of his previous 565 games, both in the regular season and in the playoffs, in the past seven seasons and up.
But ahead of Saturday’s game against the Oklahoma City Thunder in Oklahoma City, Bledsoe gave the Clippers some stabilizing influence coming off the bench as the main ball player when playmaker Reggie Jackson was not on the pitch. .
âI just have games to win,â said Bledsoe. âNo matter what position I play in, no matter what, I just have to go out there and play as hard as I can to help this team win. “
Bledsoe comes off a performance of 21 points, 8 assists and 1 turnover in Wednesday’s 124-103 loss to Utah.
Since stepping off the bench for the first time this season in a victory over the Lakers on Dec. 3, Bledsoe has tallied 33 assists and just nine turnovers and the Clippers are 5-2.
“I really thought his pace was good,” Clippers coach Tyronn Lue said of Bledsoe after the loss to Jazz. âHis pace has been very good for us all season, but tonight he found some extra equipment. “
After playing 19 of their first 28 at home, the Clippers started a stretch in Utah in which they will play 20 of their 30s on the road.
Saturday’s game will end four home games for the Thunder, who are looking to avoid losing the victory down the home stretch.
Oklahoma City have lost three in a row, 13 of 16, including a 113-110 loss to New Orleans on Wednesday when the Pelicans ‘Devonte’ Graham hit a three-quarter field shot at the buzzer to knock out the Thunder, a few moments after Shai Gilgeous-Alexander tied with a 3-point with less than two seconds to go.
Thunder coach Mark Daigneault compared the emotions of not only that loss, but also of the Thunder’s recent struggles to how families are growing, saying the positive moments and struggles brought the team together.
âOne of the fundamental things we talk about is growing through experience,â said Daigneault.
In the last five games since missing Oklahoma City’s historic 73-point loss to Memphis on December 2, Gilgeous-Alexander has averaged 23.6 points and 6.4 assists and is 8 of 24. (33.3%) beyond the arc.
Both teams could get some extra help for Saturday’s game.
For the Clippers, Paul George is closing in on a comeback after missing the last four games with a bruised right elbow. The Clippers’ top scorer is averaging 25 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.9 steals, his record in every category since joining the team after being traded from Oklahoma City in the 2019 offseason.
Thunder’s Luguentz Dort will likely play against the Clippers after missing Wednesday’s game with a sprained left ankle.
Saturday’s game is the second of three meetings between the teams. The Clippers won the first, 99-94, on Nov. 1 in Los Angeles.
-Media at field level
Suggest a correction