What to take from the Clippers First Game in China

By Michael Stephenson

The Los Angeles Clippers played the first of two exhibition games yesterday against the Miami Heat, thousands of miles away in Beijing, China. It was a game controlled by the Heat from the tip, which was televised at 4:30 A.M. in Los Angeles. (Thank god for DVR.) The defending NBA champions looked the part and won the game 94-80.

There wasn’t much to take from this basketball game if you’re a Clippers fan, as they looked out of sync for most of the game. That shouldn’t have come as a surprise since the Clippers added seven new players to their roster this off-season, playing in just their second preseason game together. The team was also without Chris Paul and Chauncey Billups, who are both recovering from injuries. They finished the game with an outrageous 25 turnovers with most of them coming on passes to “the guy that should have been there.” Most people would say that it’s just a preseason game and it takes a lot more than two games to mesh new players together, well those people are right.

However, even with all of the turnovers happening throughout the game, there was still a few bright spots for the Clippers. The Clippers were impressive on the offensive glass all game, crashing the boards consistently after every missed shot. As a team they out-rebounded the Heat 15-7 for the game. It was Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan, and Eric Bledsoe who led the way with eight rebounds apiece.

Griffin led the team with 19 points on 8-16 shooting from the field in this one, playing just over 31 minutes. It wasn’t hard to find the players that impressed in a game where most players didn’t. Jamal Crawford was one of the few that showed up, scoring 16 points on 5-12 shooting from the field and 3-7 from behind-the-arc. Crawford played over 31 minutes off of the bench, which will most likely be his role during the regular season. That role shouldn’t be a tough one for Crawford, who won the 2009-2010 Sixth man of the Year Award with the Atlanta Hawks.

So the Clippers struggled in Beijing yesterday, but maybe Shanghai, China, will give them better results on Sunday when they take on the Heat for a second time.

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