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Shai Gilgeous-Alexander leads Clippers past Cavaliers

first_imgThe game has slowed down for Gilgeous-Alexander, he said Saturday after getting the Clippers (46-31) rolling with his second consecutive 20-plus point game, a career-first.“He’s just playing now,” Clippers Coach Doc Rivers said. “He’s not thinking a lot and overall, he’s making really good reads too. He’s aggressive when he needs to be aggressive, but he’s making passes when he needs to pass as well.”Gilgeous-Alexander was 9 for 12 from the field and 3 for 3 from 3-point range for 22 points in 28 minutes. The 20-year-old also dished out a team-best eight assists and had just one turnover.“Slinq,” as his teammates call him, got plenty of help from those guys, including JaMychal Green, who dedicated his Clippers-best 18 points to his mother, Rita, who celebrated her birthday Saturday.Acquired along with Garrett Temple from Memphis — which visits Sunday — at the trade deadline, Green started Saturday in place of Danilo Gallinari, who was out with a sore left ankle, and went 8 for 9 (and 2 for 2 from deep) and grabbed a team-high 10 rebounds. Clippers vs. Mavericks Game 5 playoff updates from NBA beat reporters Kristaps Porzingis ruled out as Clippers, Mavericks set for Game 5; Follow for game updates LOS ANGELES — Another early start, and another early glimpse at a franchise’s future.Rookie point guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander helped lead the Clippers — who shot an alert, eye-opening 62.4 percent from the field — past Cleveland 132-108 early Saturday afternoon at Staples Center.The season’s best collective shooting performance — the Clippers made 53 for 85 attempts — boosted them to their 12th win in 14 games and extended their home matinee record to 7-1.With five regular-season games remaining, the Clippers are a half-game behind the Utah Jazz for the fifth-best record in the conference. “We didn’t have Gal, so I knew I had to step up,” Green said. “And I felt like the whole team stepped up, everybody.”Off the bench, Montrezl Harrell finished with a team-high 23 points on 10-for-13 shooting and Lou Williams chipped in with 18.“When you shoot 62 percent, you don’t have a lot to say offensively,” Rivers said. “I didn’t like the offensive rebounds and fouls in the first quarter, but overall, I just liked how we came out to play.”The Clippers allowed eight offensive rebounds and were called for seven fouls in the first 12 minutes before their third-quarter lull got Cleveland (19-58 and losers of five consecutive) within 10 points.After leading by as many as 23 points in the quarter, the Clippers’ lead shrank to seven before Garrett Temple – scoreless in the Clippers’ loss Thursday in Milwaukee – hit a 3-pointer to stem the surge and give the Clippers a 93-83 lead entering the final period.Temple hit two more 3-pointers and finished with 13 points to help spark a 20-9 run to ward off Cleveland’s short-lived comeback threat.The score was locked at 48 with 3:54 to go before halftime before the Clippers busted through with a 17-4 run that featured a pair of pretty plays by Gilgeous-Alexander, the fashion-forward rookie who’s spent the season refining his sense of style off the court and on.On Saturday, to the delight of his teammates on the bench, he held his pose after a reverse layup made it 59-50, mere moments after holding his arm aloft triumphantly after burying an open 3-pointer from the top of the key to make it 57-50.“He makes it look good, he’s so smooth,” second-year reserve guard Sindarius Thornwell said of Gilgeous-Alexander. “I love watching Shai, I’m one of his biggest fans.”Related Articles Gilgeous-Alexander extended his double-digit scoring streak to 10 games before halftime, notching 17 points and three assists in the opening half – which ended with his pass to Harrell for an a 3-pointer.Harrell tumbled to the floor with about 10 minutes to go in the second quarter, clutching his left ankle. His teammates raced over to check on him, but he was up again and hop-skipping away from them, shaking it off. He stayed in the game and scored the Clippers’ next six points.“I just rolled it real quick,” Harrell said. “But I’m fine, man. I’ve rolled my ankle a thousand times playing basketball. You tie your shoe up tighter and keep going.”center_img For Lakers’ LeBron James, Jacob Blake’s shooting is bigger issue than a big Game 4 victory Clippers hope they can play to their capabilities, quell Mavericks’ momentum What the Clippers are saying the day after Luka Doncic’s game-winner tied series, 2-2 Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more