Clippers rookies continue to dominate in Summer League playoff win

Survive and advance. In the dog days of summer the message remains as crucial for up-and-coming players as it does for savvy vets carving up the hardwood in the dead of June.

With each Clippers win in the Summer League playoffs, hopeful franchise players continue to earn opportunities to develop their skills to the professional level and free agents are able to put more game tape together to prove their worth with the team. Each of the 11 guys that saw playing time did exactly that Wednesday.

As the Clippers washed the Washington Wizards away with ease in a 89-74 win to advance to the second round of the playoffs, it was a slew of fresh faces that bounced off the box score.

To kick things off, No. 11 overall pick Shai Gilgeous-Alexander continued his excellent play throughout the Las Vegas exhibition with a more well-rounded performance than the offensive production he displayed the first three games. Supporting his 17 points with six assists and four rebounds, SGA spent much of his 29 minutes in control of the ball at the point position and leading the Clips defensive efforts that netted 11 steals.

Coinciding with Gilgeous-Alexander’s success was that of No. 13 overall pick Jerome Robinson’s. The 6-foot-5 guard capitalized on minimal space provided by defenders, increasing his long range numbers with a 3-for-6 outing from three that paved the way for his 15 points. Robinson left the game with just under two minutes remaining after tweaking his ankle, but assured reporters after the game it was nothing serious. Summer League head coach Casey Hill said he is unsure if Robinson will be able to go in Thursday’s game.

While the two lottery picks flaunted their abilities, it was free agent Reggie Upshaw Jr. who provided the biggest statistical impact. Upshaw Jr., who played in Europe last season after going undrafted in 2017 out of Middle Tennessee State, was a sight to see, displaying versatility extending from beyond the three point line to the interior where he captured three offensive rebounds (nine boards in total) and made easy work of putbacks like the one below. The 6-foot-7 forward finished the night with 24 points on 9-of-15 shooting in his team-leading 31 minutes.

With the W in the books, the Clips move to an even 2-2 in Vegas play and will meet the No. 1 seeded Lakers in the second round of the playoffs Thursday.

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