“About time,” tweeted Clippers guard Patrick Beverley shortly after the news broke that teammate Tobias Harris was awarded Western Conference Player of the Week.
In four games between Nov. 19 and Sunday, Harris – the Clippers’ ever-improving forward – averaged 24.8 points, including equaling a career-high 34 in a rousing come-from-behind victory in Portland on Sunday.
The 6-foot-8 Harris was efficient about it, too. He shot 56.5 percent from the field, 45.5 percent from 3-point range and 91.7 percent from the free-throw line. He also averaged 8.8 rebounds per game for the week.
His numbers in the past week weren’t actually all that much better than those he’s posted through 19 games for the conference-leading Clippers (13-6), who were 3-1 in their most recent games. For the season, Harris is the only NBA player averaging at least 20 points (21.5) and eight rebounds (8.7), while shooting better than 50 percent (52.5 percent) from the field and 40 percent (42.7 percent) from 3-point range, all team-bests. He’s also making 82.8 percent of his free-throw attempts.
About time https://t.co/3bpdAuyhXH
— Patrick Beverley (@patbev21) November 26, 2018
👉 Career-high 34 points in Portland
👉 56.5% from the field / 45.5% from deep
— LA Clippers (@LAClippers) November 26, 2018
After the Clippers’ recent 116-111 victory over the San Antonio Spurs, in which Harris had 18 points, eight rebounds, five assists and a blocked shot, Coach Doc Rivers complimented his development.
“He just keeps getting better,” Rivers said. “He made some really big plays for us and I keep looking at this number – five assists. Last year, that didn’t happen. He’s becoming more than a scorer, he’s becoming a playmaker for us as well. And I think it’s going to benefit him in the long run.”
Harris was honored as a player of the week once before in his eight-year career; he was recognized early last season when he played for the Detroit Pistons.
Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo was named the Eastern Conference Player of the Week.
No one needed to tell the Clippers to take care when they traveled to Portland on Sunday.
They won another nail-biter, improved to 13-6, climbed back atop the Western Conference standings for at least a night and, most certainly, took care of the basketball.
The Clippers set a franchise record with only four turnovers – and they did it in a physical, often frenetic game, and with a rookie guard playing 30 minutes.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, the 20-year-old starter, had two of the Clippers’ turnovers, on a bad pass and a Jusuf Nurkic steal, and Marcin Gortat and Danilo Gallinari had the only others.
The NBA record for the fewest turnovers in a game is two, dating to at least 1984-85, according to the Clippers. The 2013 Oklahoma City Thunder, the 2009 Cleveland Cavaliers and the 2006 Milwaukee Bucks share that record.
For the season, the Clippers have committed an average of 14.2 turnovers per game, which is eighth-least in the NBA. (On the other hand, they’re forcing opponents into only 12.3 turnovers per game, which ranks 29th out of 30 teams, according to NBA.com/stats.)
TWO PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
Shortly after the NBA announced Harris was being honored as the Western Conference Player of the Week, the G League sent word that Johnathan Motley, a forward for the Agua Caliente Clippers of Ontario, was the G League Player of the Week.
In two victories between Nov. 19 and Sunday, Motley – who is on a two-way contract with the L.A. Clippers – averaged 28 points, 9.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists while shooting 52.6 percent from the field and 87.5 percent from the free-throw line. In a victory over the South Bay Lakers, he had a career- and team season-high 35 points.