The story was speculated to be largely about James Harden’s first recreation with the Clippers and the way the crew was going to type a dynamic Large 4 with Harden, Kawhi Leonard, Paul George and Russell Westbrook.

However Monday’s recreation became rather more than simply Harden making his debut and having a stable efficiency.

It was concerning the Clippers shedding 111-97 to a New York Knicks crew nonetheless looking for its method.

It was about Clippers coach Ty Lue pulling his starters late within the fourth quarter after they had been down 16 factors as a result of they weren’t getting the “defensive stops” he needed.

It was concerning the Clippers shedding key reserve Mason Plumlee to a sprained left knee that he’ll have reevaluated Tuesday.

It was concerning the Clippers’ Achilles’ heel of poor rebounding and never taking good care of the basketball rearing its head once more.

So, sure, there was a lot for the Clippers to unpack, beginning with Harden scoring 17 factors on six-for-nine capturing, going two for 4 on three-pointers and handing out six assists.

It was a stable debut for Harden, who compelled his method out of Philadelphia and was traded to the Clippers final week.

“I really feel sort of bizarre on the market,” Harden mentioned. “However simply not likely having a preseason recreation or a chance to take part within the full coaching camp or none of that. It was simply on the market and simply principally winging it. However attempt to go off my basketball instincts and what I’ve been doing for the previous couple of years or whatnot. I simply went on the market and taking part in and considering the sport and attempting to make the sport simpler for everyone else.”

Harden performed 31 minutes, 22 seconds, his wind nonetheless not there.

“I used to be drained,” Harden mentioned. “It’s shifting quick, however I imply, I obtained adjusted to it. It was going to take me a couple of video games to sort of get used to the tempo, however aside from that, it was nonetheless basketball on the finish of the day.”

Harden has had a couple of practices with the Clippers in the previous couple of days.

Nonetheless, the final time he performed in an NBA recreation was Might 14 within the 76ers’ Sport 7 loss to the Boston Cetics within the Japanese Convention semifinals.

Clippers guard James Harden controls the ball in front of New York Knicks center Mitchell Robinson.

Clippers guard James Harden controls the ball in entrance of New York Knicks heart Mitchell Robinson in the course of the first half Monday.

(John Munson / Related Press)

“He obtained drained, a pair stints or no matter and had it come out, however I assumed total, orchestrating, making the fitting play, making the fitting go and decide the foundations, he was actually good,” Lue mentioned. “So it’s going to take him a bit time to get in recreation form. We perceive that, however his presence on the ground was undoubtedly felt.”

Westbrook (17 factors) and Kawhi Leonard (18) additionally had been stable, however George had solely 10 factors, lacking 9 of his 11 photographs and 5 of his six three-point makes an attempt.

Clearly, it’s going take time for this foursome to get comfy with each other.

Lue mentioned he’s taking a look at “10” video games for Leonard, George, Westbrook and Harden to search out their rhythm collectively.

And, it was simply their first recreation taking part in collectively, Lue reminded reporters.

“I’m not going to overreact,” he mentioned.

Even so, Lue discovered some fault with the defensive effort of his starters.

He known as a timeout with 4:25 left and the Clippers down 104-88.

When play resumed, Lue had pulled starters Harden, Westbrook, Leonard, George and heart Ivica Zubac.

The Clippers had already given up 34 factors within the third and had been on their solution to giving up 35 within the fourth.

“That they had 34 factors within the [third] quarter, so we wasn’t getting stops,” Lue mentioned. “So, it wasn’t no want taking an opportunity on somebody getting injured. No method we may have received a recreation down 16 the best way they had been taking part in offensively, and so I simply obtained my guys out.”

The unhealthy information for the Clippers was when Plumlee was carried off the court docket by the crew’s medical workers within the third quarter after a collision with Julius Randle. Randle was chasing a free ball when he bumped into Plumlee’s left leg, sending him to the court docket in ache.

“[It’s] only a sprained knee,” Lue mentioned, “[and] that’s all we all know.”

Lue additionally is aware of the Clippers can’t maintain turning the ball over at a excessive price and so they can’t maintain getting beat up on the boards.

They turned the ball over 22 occasions, resulting in 35 factors for the Knicks.

They gave up 18 offensive rebounds, resulting in 16 second-chance factors.

“It [was] the identical factor that’s been killing us the final couple years — simply to rebound the basketball,” Lue mentioned. “That they had 18 offensive rebounds after which [we turned] the basketball over. We had 22 turnovers. So, you’ll be able to’t beat the nice groups whenever you hand over 18 offensive rebounds and you then flip the ball over 22 occasions. It’s simply too laborious to win a recreation.”

#Clippers #tempo #Knicks #James #Hardens #debut

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