LOS ANGELES — Feel free to blink, even if you miss a Clippers’ 3-pointer, another one is on its way soon.
Tyronn Lue’s team is taking plenty of attempts from behind the arc — 41 percent of their shots have come come from long range, in fact. And they’re not missing many of them, bringing a league-leading 43.6 percent 3-point shooting rate into Sunday’s game against the Indiana Pacers, who were gearing up to face a team with six key players shooting 42.9 percent or higher.
“They’re shooting it very well, as you can see,” the Pacers’ first-year coach Indiana’s Nate Bjorkgren said before tip-off, via Zoom. “We gotta do a good job of disrupting their offense and not letting those passes be so precise and right into their shooting pocket. We have to make them work to get open. By the time they get to that 3-point line and they’re set, ready to shoot, we gotta wear into them a little bit … our transition defense has to be great.”
In addition to combining to assist on 11.2 buckets per game, Paul George and Kawhi Leonard are making a major dent from downtown, too. George is shooting a team- and career-best 51.5 percent from 3 and Leonard is hitting at 43.1 percent, the second-best percentage of his career.
Lue suggested that he doesn’t necessarily expect the Clippers stars’ shooting to taper off.
“We’re doing a good job and coming into the season our coaching staff just talked about putting the basketball in Kawhi and PG’s hands…” Lue said. “When we get into the playoffs, Kawhi, PG, they should be very comfortable offensively making plays for themselves and also for the team and that’s what they’re trying to do. If PG continues to play the right way and moving the basketball and Kawhi doing the same thing, I think he’s going to get open shots.
“And PG with open shots, that’s what we want. We play the right way, I think he can still continue to shoot the ball the way he’s been shooting.”
G LEAGUE ROSTER TBD
Last week, the Clippers announced their G League affiliate — the Agua Caliente Clippers of Ontario — will be among the participants in the forth coming G League bubble.
In all, 17 NBA G League teams and G League Ignite will participate in a 2021 NBA G League regular season at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida.
The top eight teams will advance to a single-elimination playoff at the conclusion of the regular season.
Lue said the Clippers haven’t definitely decided on the makeup of the Agua Caliente roster, but he said he thinks it will be worth the reported $400,000-$500,000 investment to have a team participate (11 teams opted against it).
“It will be good for young guys to continue to play, continue to develop their game, and get better,” Lue said. “All players want to play, no matter what level it is, so for those guys to go down and get their reps, continue to play, and enhance their game in any way they can, I think it’ll be good for them.”
Before the coronavirus pandemic curtailed the G League season last year, then-rookies Terance Mann and Mfiondu Kabengele, as well as two-way player Amir Coffey made appearances with the Ontario affiliate, which went 22-22 and placed third place in the Pacific Division.
According to The Athletic, teams are expected to begin arriving Jan. 26, ahead of opening night Feb. 8. The plays are anticipated to run between March 5-9.
— AguaCalienteClippers (@ACClippers) January 8, 2021