LOS ANGELES – Here are three key takeaways from Friday’s In-Season Tournament game:
James Harden gets first win as a Clipper
Since he arrived in Los Angeles Harden has yet to produce a win – until Friday’s NBA In-Season Tournament game with the Houston Rockets. Harden was one of three starters who scored over 20 points in an effort to break the team’s six-game losing streak.
The game was tied at 100-100 in the final quarter when Kawhi Leonard forced a pass to Harden who proceeded to cash in a four-point play and close out the game. Harden finished Friday with 24 points on 8-of-11 shooting and paired with nine rebounds and seven assists.
Harden started 0-6 with his new Los Angeles squad, but he was not the first recent acquisition that needed an adjusting period. After signing Russell Westbrook last season, the Clippers started 0-5 before claiming their first win.
Russell Westbrook plays off the bench
In an effort to break his team’s losing streak, Clippers star Russell Westbrook requested to come off the bench, TNT’s Chris Haynes initially reported. Prior to Friday’s tipoff, Clippers head coach Ty Lue confirmed earlier reports, sharing with reporters that Westbrook initially texted the request Wednesday night. Lue then met with Westbrook to discuss the matter before Thursday’s practice.
Lue praised Westbrook’s selflessness in Friday’s pregame press conference saying, “We’ve been talking about sacrifice, minutes, shots, and he sacrificed [by] coming off the bench.”
As for his performance, Westbrook scored eight points in 17 minutes with three rebounds and two assists to help his squad capture their first win in weeks.
Daniel Theis makes Clippers debut
Free agent center Daniel Theis was officially signed by Los Angeles, the team announced on Friday. The news comes just nearly two weeks after Clippers backup center Mason Plumlee suffered an MCL sprain against the New York Knicks.
After Theis, 31, cleared the waiver period he joined the team for his home debut against Houston Friday. In 10 minutes Theis scored 2 points, but his toughest quarter came in the third when both Alperen Sengun and Tari Eason postered Theis.
Across seven seasons in which Theis spent time with the Boston Celtics, Chicago Bulls, Houston Rockets and Pacers, he averaged 7.5 points and 4.9 rebounds.
Up next, the Clippers head to San Antonio to take on the Spurs for two consecutive road games. The first matchup between the two teams tips off Monday at 5:00 pm at the Frost Bank Center followed by Wednesday’s game at the same.