Los Angeles, CA — The Los Angeles Clippers skyrocketed ahead of the Washington Wizards in a 136-104 win at Staples Center Sunday night.
The Wizards entered the matchup as the worst defensive team in the league based on points allowed, and Sunday’s game certainly did not help its reputation. Even with the addition of former Clippers star– and son of Clippers coach— Austin Rivers, the Wizards could never push past a strong Los Angeles team.
Tobias Harris, who led Los Angeles with 22 points and 11 rebounds, attributed the win to a powerful defense and strong team work ethic.
“We want to be excited,” said Harris. “We want to have a joy for the way we play, and I think everyone makes the year a lot easier for ourselves and makes it fun to just be a part of. That’s what we pride ourselves on.”
Clippers Coach Doc Rivers echoed these thoughts, crediting much of the team’s success to each player working together instead of trying to be a standout star.
“Nobody’s hunting points,” said Rivers. “They’re hunting the open guy, and that’s a good way to play. That’s the only way we can play… the only way we’ll be good.”
With a focus to get the ball in the open man’s hands, the Clippers dished out 35 assists on the night. On the opposing end, Washington only had 18. Reserve point-guard, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander had a team-high seven dimes, followed by Lou Williams with six.
Working hand in hand with so many assists, Los Angeles ended the game with nine players with at least 10 points.
Austin Rivers returned to Los Angeles for the first time since being traded to Washington. He emphasized how the Wizards will need to step up their game for the rest of the season.
“The road ain’t going to get easier,” Rivers said (via USA Today). “Nobody’s going to feel bad for us. People are laughing at us. We have to play with (urgency).”
Rivers finished with nine points, three assists in 22 minutes of play off the bench. The Wizards were led by Bradley Beal’s 20 points and seven rebounds.
Both teams meet again in Washington on Nov. 20.