The Shanghai Sharks looked less like Jaws and more like Baby Shark on Sunday afternoon at the Stan Sheriff Center as they fell victim to a resurgent Clippers squad. Following a preseason-opening loss to the Rockets, and without reigning Kia Sixth Man of the Year Lou Williams, the Los Angeles Clippers left nothing to chance as they coasted to a 127-87 win over the Sharks.
Los Angeles reached deep into the bag in the matchup, as five Clippers scored in the double-digits. Moe Harkless led the team with 16 points off the bench, while starter JaMychal Green chipped in 13. Montrezl Harrell, who led the team in scoring against the Rockets, finished with 12 points this time around. Johnathan Motley and Terry Laurier rounded out the list, with 11 points each.
Looking for their first win of the preseason, Los Angeles got off to a strong start with a 7-0 lead to open the game. Center Ivaca Zubac once again got things rolling for the Clippers, making a 6-foot hook shot to open the scoring. Terrance Mann and Patrick Beverly quickly added to the lead. The Sharks eventually fought back to cut the deficit to just one at 8-9, setting off what would become a tightly contested quarter. Led by former UCSB guard James Nunnally and his game high 12 first quarter points, Shanghai found themselves trailing by just 7 points at the end of a 28-21 quarter.
Quarter two was a very different story. The Clippers held the Sharks scoreless for four minutes to open the quarter, while pouring in 10 points of their own. International players Donatas Motiejunas and Nunnally chipped in the occasional point, but the Clippers couldn’t be stopped as they ran up the score. Any lineup Los Angeles tried seemed to work, with three Clipper players crossing over the double-digit threshold. Eventually, the clock mercifully ran out, as the Sharks limped into the locker room trailing 63-34. Shanghai was outscored 18-35 in the quarter.
The third quarter was much more evenly matched. Clippers guard Rodney McGruder got the scoring started for LA with a jumper off a Landry Shamet assist. Nunnally responded with a three pointer, but it was quickly matched by Clippers forward JaMychal Green. The back and forth continued well into the frame, eventually resulting in a respectable 25-24 Clipper advantage in the quarter. The Sharks were led by a 15-point outburst from Donatas Motiejunas, bringing him into a tie with Nunnally to lead all scorers.
With the win seemingly in hand, the game rolled on into the final quarter. After checking into the game for the first time, the Clippers’ Terry Laurier exploded for 11 points in the frame. Mfiondu Kabengele also put in a strong performance for LA, racking up 7 points while wowing the crowd with an array of acrobatic dunks. Led by Laurier and Kabengele, the Clippers wrapped up the game in fashion, outscoring the Sharks 39-29 in the quarter. At the 3:14 mark, Motiejunas headed for the bench to a standing ovation from the crowd after scoring 29 points in 44 minutes played. Nunnally, meanwhile, finished with a game high 31 points in 41 minutes played.
With the Hawaii Classic now over, the Clippers return home to take on the Denver Nuggets at the Staples Center on Oct. 10.