The Los Angeles Clippers beat the Kings 127-118 the other night, but the score doesn’t tell you the whole story—Clips had a lead as big as 27 and the game was rarely closer than 15. But late in the fourth quarter, a collection of Kings second and even third stringers brought the game within 3.
Check out this sequence before halftime that allowed the Clippers to hold their lead and prevent some Kings momentum going into halftime.
It starts with Bradley on top with the ball, Boban setting a down screen for Gallinari, and Harris and SGA spaced to the opposite side of the floor. Bjelica fights through the initial screen and stays on Gallinari, who enters the ball into the post and looks to screen away. Boban begins backing down his man as Bradley flashes into the paint and receives a great pass for a layup.
Next time down the floor, you can hear the Clippers guards shouting “same play!”, and they do exactly that.
This time on the down screen, Bjelica gets pinned by Boban, and Koufos is forced to late switch out onto Gallinari. Gallo sees all the space he has and hits the easy midrange shot.
With one minute remaining in the quarter, LAC runs this action yet again.
Knowing the miscommunication from the last play, Bjelica fights hard through the screen again and gets a solid closeout on Gallinari, who pulls up off the catch from 3. He misses, but that’s a decent look off of a play that had been working.
The Clippers really took advantage of the slow-footed Kings bigs here by continuously putting them in off-ball screening actions and forcing them to make a decision. Even though it didn’t seem like it at the time, every basket mattered in this game and that really showed later on. Excellent coaching and court awareness by Rivers and the Clippers.