Two days ago in my countdown to the 2012-13 NBA season, I discussed backup point guard Eric Bledsoe and how important he is going to be to the success of the Los Angeles Clippers.
Right on cue, Bledsoe snapped Wednesday night with 22 points, 11 assists and nine steals in the Clippers’ 97-91 preseason victory over hometown rival, the Los Angeles Lakers. Bledsoe’s totals for all three categories were game highs and his nine steals were more than the Lakers had as a team.
Bledsoe–who I consider one of the best backup point guards in the league– has carried the Clippers on the perimeter for most of the preseason providing points, assists, a solid shooting percentage, steals, tough man to man defense and quick legs to push the tempo.
The tw0-year player led the Clippers squad as quite a few important pieces sat out to rest: Chris Paul, Lamar Odom, Grant Hill, Jamal Crawford and Chauncey Billups. Hill sat out because of bruises in his right knee and Billups continues to recover from his Achilles tendon tear in February.
Matt Barnes led the bench with 18 points against his former team and was the second highest scorer in the game, while Blake Griffin added 15 for the Clippers.
The Lakers star-studded cast was led by Pau Gasol–who scored a Laker high 17 points. Metta World Peace and 2012 NBA Draft second round pick Robert Sacre added 13 for the Lake Show. Kobe Bryant did not play for the purple and gold.
Again, here is another chance for me to plea to Clippers’ coach Vinny Del Negro–please give Bledsoe more than the 11 minutes a game you gave him last season. He is a game changer for the second team and is a much needed fast-tempo point guard on a team with a bunch of runners.
The Clippers are now 4-3 in the preseason and the Lakers are 0-7.