Lou Williams’ vocals carry weight in the Clippers’ locker room

first_imgWhen Williams’ travels delivered him to the Clippers in a trade from Houston in 2017, he decided privately that this stop, his sixth in 13 NBA seasons, would be his last.“It turned into my own secret farewell party,” he said, reminiscing after winning his third Sixth Man of the Year award this summer.It wound up being a different kind of party, one that has even the coolest people sticking around – and even picking up some emceeing duties.“I remember it’s Thanksgiving 2017 and the Clippers are in the middle of a nine-game losing streak,” said Brian Sieman, Fox Sports’ play-by-place announcer who then handled the call on radio. “They snap it in Atlanta, and I remember talking to (Coach) Doc (Rivers) about the losing streak being over and he went out of his way to compliment Lou. … He’s like, ‘It’s not his play. Lou in the locker room was the best I’ve ever seen anybody in the locker room. He was his best when we were at our worst.’”Facts, say teammates who listen up when the Clippers’ elder statesman speaks. Just after the Golden State Warriors finally figured out how to subdue the Clippers in Game 6 of their Western Conference playoff series in April, Patrick Beverley and Lou Williams faced the media.The first question went to Williams, who averaged 31.3 points in Oakland during the series but only 12 at Staples Center: “What makes you play so good in Oracle and not particularly here (in L.A.)?”Beverley, the Clippers’ highly emotional leader, didn’t appreciate the query, gripping the mic so tightly he made it crackle: “Next question, man.”“Nah,” interjected Williams, as smooth with words as he is on his feet skirting defenders, and the only man on the roster capable of getting Beverley to chill out. “We ain’t gonna do that. You know what … that’s just how it mapped out.” What the Clippers are saying the day after Luka Doncic’s game-winner tied series, 2-2 Clippers hope they can play to their capabilities, quell Mavericks’ momentum A slight 6-foot-1 guard, Williams led all NBA reserves by averaging 20 points per game last season, second among second-round draft picks in the league, behind only Nikola Jokic’s 20.1. His scoring average also was the second-most by any bench player in 25 years – topped only by his own 21.9 points in 2017-18.And the party might just be getting started. Williams, 32, spent the offseason sharing workout videos with teammates, looking out for young players such as two-way forward Johnathan Motley, communicating and cultivating chemistry and accountability.“He asked me to come out and I played in his hometown league’s championship game (in Atlanta), and we won, so it was dope,” Motley said. “He’s there for us on the court and off the court, making sure we have confidence in ourselves, testing you, seeing what you got, talking to you in practice just to see how you’re gonna respond. He wants us to get better and help the team.”Especially because, with the addition of superstar wings Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, Williams’ Clippers have mapped out a route that extends past the first round.“We really feel like we have an opportunity to do something special here in the city of Los Angeles,” Williams said. “We look forward to getting that going.” For Lakers’ LeBron James, Jacob Blake’s shooting is bigger issue than a big Game 4 victory center_img Clippers vs. Mavericks Game 5 playoff updates from NBA beat reporters “Lou is very vocal,” second-year guard Landry Shamet said. “Well-worded, says the right things, knows how to provoke us, get us going a little bit, checks people, keeps people in line. Maybe it’s that rapper thing? Makes sense.”The on-court legacy that Williams – whose musical exploits include the 2017 release of “T.A.T.N.W.” (The Album That Never Was) – has established supports his syntax.“This is a guy who started learning from Allen Iverson, one of the best players who played this game,” former Clipper Corey Maggette said. “And (Willams) designed his own role and followed his own path coming off the bench, and that’s been an amazing thing to watch. You talk about the greatest scorer that the game has ever seen from a sixth-man perspective, he’s the best of all time. That’s why they call him ‘The Underground GOAT.’”The logo on Williams’ personal merchandise – featuring No. 23, his and Michael Jordan’s number, flipped upside down – is a reference to the nickname. Fitting for the man who in March passed Dell Curry by scoring his 11,147th points to become No. 1 all-time on the points-off-the-bench leaderboard.Related Articles Kristaps Porzingis ruled out as Clippers, Mavericks set for Game 5; Follow for game updates Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img

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