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Shai Gilgeous-Alexander coming on strong lately for Clippers

first_imgBut beyond Gilgeous-Alexander’s offensive improvement, the 6-foot-6 guard with the 7-foot wingspan also has been more disruptive defensively lately, including averaging 1.3 steals in his past eight games. That’s to the delight of coach Doc Rivers, who said he’s had “a lot” of conversations with the one-year Kentucky standout on that topic.“Early in the year, he was getting over picks, he was using his length, blocking shots or changing shots,” Rivers said. “And then he got into reaching, and maybe that was fatigue, you never know. Now he’s back to sliding his feet again, standing in front of guys and making guys take tough shots over him. And that’s what we need him to do.”SIXTH MEN DEBATEThe NBA’s two best – or, if you ask the Clippers, three best – sixth men faced off Sunday at Staples Center. For Lakers’ LeBron James, Jacob Blake’s shooting is bigger issue than a big Game 4 victory In one corner, Brooklyn’s 25-year-old guard Spencer Dinwiddie, who came in averaging 17.6 points and 4.9 assists in 28 minutes off the bench per game.In the other corner: Lou Williams, the reigning Sixth Man of the Year and, as of March 11, the league’s all-time leading bench scorer. The 32-year-old guard is putting up 20.4 points and a career-high-tying 5.3 assists in 26.5 minutes per game  as a reserve this season.(Worth noting: Montrezl Harrell, who is averaging a career-high 16.5 points per game, is the Clippers’ other half of the highest combined single-season one-two scoring punch off the bench in NBA history.) Forward Danilo Gallinari suggested recently that last month’s addition of sharp-shooting rookie guard Landry Shamet would benefit Gilgeous-Alexander.“To play with another great shooter, he opens up the space for everybody, especially the mid-range game for Shai,” Gallinari said.Related Articles Clippers vs. Mavericks Game 5 playoff updates from NBA beat reporters Clippers hope they can play to their capabilities, quell Mavericks’ momentum Kristaps Porzingis ruled out as Clippers, Mavericks set for Game 5; Follow for game updates “Lou is like Sugar Ray Leonard, just great footwork, but stronger than you think, and super smart,” Nets coach Kenny Atkinson said when asked to compare the star subs. “I’m trying to think who Spencer is? Tommy Hearns, maybe? He just kind of cracks you. He’s downhill. And he’s hitting you, he’s speed, and 6-6.“I am not,” Atkinson added, as a qualifier, “a boxing expert.”Rivers offered a similar analysis, minus the pugilism analogies.“They score a little different,” said Rivers, who joked Williams already had his third Sixth Man award wrapped up this season. “Spencer gets into the paint, and he’s just a bigger guard. Big age difference. Spencer is extremely athletic and no one says that about Lou – yet he is. But no one talks about it. I think Lou likes that, I think he uses that to his advantage.” What the Clippers are saying the day after Luka Doncic’s game-winner tied series, 2-2 LOS ANGELES — If Shai Gilgeous-Alexander hasn’t yet reached a rookie summit, he’s close.Entering Sunday’s game against the Brooklyn Nets, the Clippers’ 20-year-old starting point guard appeared to have gotten over the in-season wall that crops up before most NBA players and virtually every rookie.Following Friday’s 17-point contribution against the Bulls, Gilgeous-Alexander had scored in double figures in seven of his past eight games, starting on the heels of a victory over Dallas on Feb. 25 when he accounted for no points.In that span, Gilgeous-Alexander – who leads all rookies in minutes (25.7 per game) and scoring (10.2) on teams playing better-than-.500 ball – is averaging 13.8 points, 3.3 rebounds, 3.1 assists while shooting 56.6 percent from the field and 68.8 percent from 3-point range. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more