LOS ANGELES — What would the Clippers look like this season without Lou Williams? He finished 2017 in fashion, scoring 40 points in Sunday afternoon’s 106-98 win over the Charlotte Hornets as he came off the bench white hot.
“We’d be in trouble,” head coach Doc Rivers said when asked that same question about Williams’ impact. “He’s so efficient and what people don’t see, is that he let the second unit have it at halftime. I stood out and waited for him to be finished. He went a long time and he really road them. We were minus 12 on the floor in the first half.”
There’s few doubts so far that Williams is the NBA’s best sixth man this year; he’s been MVP-like for the Clippers and the team knows just how valuable he’s been to them competing for one of the final playoff spots in the western conference.
“He’s been unbelievable for us,” Blake Griffin added. “I knew he could score and all that, but he’s been better than advertised, in my opinion. The thing that surprised me too, I had a lot of respect for him as a player, but I didn’t know he was as good of a passer as he is. He scores the ball with ease, obviously tonight is another example, but it never seems like he forces stuff, he’s always in control which is impressive.”
Griffin added 25 points, seven rebounds and six assists in the win.
“I feel good, kind of forced stuff at times, but for this being the second game after being gone for a month, I feel pretty good,” Griffin said on his second game back.
Rookie point guard Jawun Evans recorded his first NBA start Sunday, filling in for Austin Rivers, and impressed coaches and fans alike. He finished with four points, four rebounds and two assists in 14 minutes of action.
“Everyone has figured out their roles. Jawun [Evans] has been way more effective than I ever thought,” Rivers said after the game. “We didn’t know we were going to play Jawun [Evans] and we were getting him ready for the G-League. He’s had an impact.”
The Clippers host the Memphis Grizzlies Tuesday night at STAPLES Center. The Grizzlies have defeated the Clippers twice this season.