Dennis Schroder Drops 17 in NBA Bubble Return as Thunder Fall to Clippers in OT

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorAugust 15, 2020

Los Angeles Clippers' guard Amir Coffey (7) celebrates with guard Terance Mann (14) after defeating the Denver Nuggets in an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (Kim Klement/Pool Photo via AP)
Kim Klement/Associated Press

The Los Angeles Clippers closed their regular season with a 107-103 overtime win over the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday at ESPN's Wide World of Sports Complex near Orlando, Florida. 

Both teams rested numerous starters and limited minutes for others. Chris Paul sat for the Thunder, and Steven Adams and Danilo Gallinari played just 15 combined minutes.

Kawhi Leonard and Paul George did not play for the Clippers, who also rested Marcus Morris and Lou Williams. In their stead, Terance Mann finished one assist short of a triple-double with 25 points, 14 rebounds and nine dimes.

For the Thunder, Hamidou Diallo paced the team with 27 points and 11 boards, and Dennis Schroder added 17 points.

The Thunder finished their regular season at 44-28, and the Clippers finished 48-24. Both teams are headed to the playoffs, which begin Monday.


Notable Performances

Thunder F Hamidou Diallo: 27 points, 11 rebounds

Thunder G Dennis Schroder: 17 points, 4 assists

Thunder G Shai Gilgeous-Alexander: 13 points, 4 rebounds

Clippers G Terance Mann: 25 points, 14 rebounds, 9 assists

Clippers F Amir Coffey: 21 points, 4 assists, 4 steals

Clippers F JaMychal Green: 13 points, 8 rebounds


Oklahoma City Gets Schroder Some Run Before Playoffs

Thunder sixth man and guard Dennis Schroder played just 21 minutes in one game during the NBA's restart before leaving the league's Walt Disney World campus to be present for the birth of his daughter.

He missed six games but was able to return for his team's last regular-season matchup before the playoffs and got some crucial minutes to ramp up his activity beforehand.

Schroder looked fantastic in limited action, scoring 17 points and dishing four assists in 25 minutes. He did pick up four first-half fouls but also shot 6-of-12 from the field and nailed all three of his three-point attempts.

Schroder got it going very early, looking spry on an easy drive to the hoop for two:

OKC THUNDER @okcthunder

Dennis wastes no time in getting back to it. #DennisSchröder | #ThunderUp https://t.co/CR1Mxx9X9X

That move foreshadowed the rest of his half, which saw Schroder get buckets from three-point land, mid-range and in the paint:


Dennis Schroder gets out to 17 PTS (3 3PM) in the 1st half on ESPN! #WholeNewGame @okcthunder 47 @LAClippers 37 https://t.co/R8i3R3VMrO

Granted, the Clippers were shorthanded and didn't feature their best defensive players in Leonard, George and Patrick Beverley, but Schroder looks ready to step into his role as the Thunder's sixth man and produce his usual 30 minutes or so of production, which saw him average 18.9 points, 4.0 assists and 3.7 rebounds heading into Friday.

With Schroder back, it'll be all systems go for the Thunder as they enter the playoffs against the Houston Rockets will all their key pieces. They have even returned Andre Roberson, a defensive stud who hadn't played since January 27, 2018, due to numerous knee ailments.

Oklahoma City will likely need to keep scoring pace with the high-flying, high-octane Rockets offense to have a chance, but having Schroder back should go a long way toward the team's efforts to take down Houston.


Mann, Coffey Lead Clips In Run-Up To Playoffs

All you need to know about how the Clippers viewed this game can be summed up in a halftime conversation between head coach Doc Rivers and Thunder head coach Billy Donovan that ESPN cameras captured.

In sum, Rivers said he texted Donovan and notified him that assistant Sam Cassell would be coaching in his place for the second half. He joined a large group of Clipper regulars taking all or part of the game off.

Frankly, there was no need for the Clippers to treat this game as anything more than a chance to give players at the end of the bench some extra minutes.

L.A. has long since clinched the Western Conference's No. 2 seed, and the team has been hit hard by injuries and absences to core members of their rotation all year.

Risking any chance that they could use yet another player to injury served no purpose Friday, enabling the Clips to enter the playoffs nearly intact.

The issue is that it's unclear if the Clippers will be able to do so, with Patrick Beverley (left calf sprain) and Landry Shamet (left foot sprain) nursing injuries. Beverley does an excellent job running the offense and playing lockdown defense, while Shamet is the second coming of sharpshooter Vinnie "The Microwave" Johnson at his best.

Being without those two will hurt, although the Clips will welcome back Montrezl Harrell, who has missed the entire seeding-game schedule due to the death of his grandmother, per Ohm Youngmisuk and Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

Therefore, it was imperative for the Clips to take this one off, and that gave a chance for some players to shine.

Terance Mann did a lot of everything with his near triple-double, and Amir Coffey added 21 points.

Mann was excellent in all facets of the game, finding Coffey on a lob for an easy two:


Amir Coffey catches the lob from Terance Mann! #WholeNewGame 📺: ESPN https://t.co/GTQDhNrzxf

He also frankly just wanted it more than the Thunder at one point, outworking three opponents for an offensive rebound and dishing to Reggie Jackson for three:

LA Clippers @LAClippers

.@terance_mann outworks the competition. @reggie_jackson makes 'em pay. https://t.co/OXsjbRbv5T

Mann even took care of business himself during overtime, grabbing a defensive rebound, strolling down court and hitting a straight-away three to give the Clips an overtime lead they would not relinquish:

LA Clippers @LAClippers

T-Mann with the three, man! @FoxSportsWest | @terance_mann https://t.co/w2axPj8ZAo

Mann added another bucket and found Patrick Patterson for three to contribute to all facets of an 8-0 run that helped put the game away.

As well as Coffey performed, his best highlight didn't even count as he threw down this slam that referees called off:

FOX Sports West @FoxSportsWest

It didn't count... BUT AMIR COFFEY WHAT 😳 #ClipperNation https://t.co/0J3eOSj1fS

Mann and Coffey very likely won't be called upon in the playoffs barring emergency, but they have performed well enough to provide intrigue for what they can offer more consistently, perhaps as soon as next season. 


What's Next?

The No. 2 seed Clippers will play the No. 7 Dallas Mavericks on Monday at 9 p.m. ET in their first-round Western Conference playoff series.

In the other half of the West playoff bracket, the Thunder will face the Houston Rockets in the No. 4 vs. No. 5 matchup Tuesday at 6:30 p.m.