It was the Los Angeles Clippers season opener last night against the Memphis Grizzlies, which ended up looking more like a carry-over game from last season’s memorable seven game first round playoff series. The same physical play from that series was being put on display from start to finish, as expected. Six months after taking that game seven from the Grizzlies on their own home floor the Clippers prevailed once again, winning last night’s game 101-92.
This time the Clippers beat Memphis using their new special weapon off of the bench, Jamal Crawford. It was his Clippers debut and it was a memorable one to say the least. He led the team in scoring while playing 30 minutes off of the bench, finishing the game with 29 points on 10-14 shooting from the field. The much improved Clippers second unit played a big role in the win, outscoring the Grizzlies bench 49-17.
Crawford’s play off of the bench forced head coach Vinny Del Negro to keep him in the game down the stretch. That decision only led to him knocking down a huge corner three with 2:41 remaining in the game. Crawford was getting his first taste of this intense battle between the Clippers and Grizzlies, but he was also giving both teams a taste of their own of what’s to come this season and the Clippers are ecstatic about it.
Crawford’s 29 points were the third most points scored in a Clippers debut in franchise history. That record belongs to Sam Cassel, who scored 35 points in his Clippers debut back on November 2nd, of 2005. (Come on, there was no way I could miss an opportunity to mention a good-looking dude like Sam in one of my articles, wait what?)
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