If you’re looking for an MVP of the first installment in the Battle of Los Angeles, you should look no further than No. 30 in red, white, and blue.
No that’s not Chris Paul or Blake Griffin‘s jersey number, not even “Mr. Big Shot” Chauncey Billups fabric digits.
No…jersey No. 30 in Clipper red, white and blue happens to belong to none other than unheralded power forward Reggie Evans.
Evans came up huge in last night’s 102-94 victory over the visiting Los Angeles Lakers, however his zero points and eight rebounds don’t even begin to describe the impact he had in this ultra-competitive early season showdown.
Yes Chris Paul was a killer notching 33 big points while Kobe Bryant again topped 40 for the fourth straight game, but it was Evans persistence on the offensive glass that was the ultimate difference in this one.
As stated earlier Evans grabbed 8 total rebounds logging 17 minutes of total playing time on the night.
Six of his eight rebounds were on the offensive end.
But four of those offensive boards ended up in Clippers’ points. Eleven second chance points to be exact.
As a unit the Clips bested the Lakers by eight on the boards, hauling down 50 on the night.
But 17 of those were offensive rebounds and as indicated Evans accounted for six of those offensive rebounds all by himself, let alone in just 17 minutes of playing time off the Clippers’ bench.
Furthermore, Evans energy and relentless effort came at times throughout the night when his team needed it most.
Many will watch Sportscenter and look to the huge Chris Paul 3-point heave just as the shot clock expired early in the fourth and naturally deem Paul the savior last night, but it was Evans who tipped the initial miss to the backcourt which would eventually make it’s way out to CP3.
And Paul of course, no stranger to drama, knew exactly what to do with it.
The Clips go from madly scrambling to halt a late Kobe-infused Lakers’ rally to being back up by eight with the crowd and team once again re-energized and confident.
Before Paul hit that shot the Lakers, behind Bryant’s third quarter heroics, had come back from being down 14 points in the first half to just five with just less than 11 minutes remaining in the game.
The score was 79-74 Clips and Kobe’s underbite and indefensible jumper had just made an appearance. But on the ensuing Clippers’ offensive trip Evans would tip rebound a miss that would eventually find its way out to Paul who would, as I’m sure you’ve seen and will see many more times, splash down a 30-foot heave to beat the shot clock….Score: 82-74.
Not necessarily ball game at that point, well at least not until later in the period when Evans, again rebounding another miss, would tip the ball out to the backcourt ultimately ending up in Paul’s sure hands for another back-breaking three.
That three-point bomb pushed the Clips lead to 11 points giving them a commanding 89-78 lead with a little more than eight minutes in the ball game.
There would be some tense moments remaining, however after Paul hit a fade-away jumper with four minutes left the game was all but over.
Consequently, while the Lakers seemed to do everything in their power to avoid the post or painted area offensively and defensively, the Clippers found a way to dominate it all evening long.
And free agent signing Reggie Evans definitely deserves a huge piece of the credit for that. Especially in terms of the all-important second chance points department.
A stat that many times goes foolishly unnoticed by the box score generalizing, stat-finding aficionado.
All said and done the Clippers grabbed 17 offensive rebounds that culminated in 21 total points; a number that equated for 20% of their offense on the night.
Huge…and that’s your ball game folks.
You think Reggie Evans isn’t worth every penny of that minimum salary the Clippers are paying him this season?