Boban Marjanovic only played sixteen minutes for the Clippers on Friday night, but they were a significant sixteen minutes. LA’s giant center (7-3/290) recorded 13 points and 5 rebounds in the 108-92 win over Oklahoma City, but his presence was a physical challenge as well.
Trailing 76-69, with 37.4 seconds remaining in the 3rd, Clippers head coach Doc Rivers went to his bench for Marjanovic, LA’s third option at center. He immediately scored, off his own rebound on a play that resembled a grown up playing with elementary children. That was the beginning of a 39-15 swing in favor of the Clippers to close out the game, putting the Thunder in an 0-2 hole to start the season.
Boban likes to play keep-away with NBA players
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) October 20, 2018
Marjanovic’s presence on the offensive end was one thing, but what he did defensively changed the game. With OKC going cold from the floor, the big man shut down the paint causing the Thunder offense to come to a complete stall.
Paul George hit a three-point shot to tie the game at 90-90 with 6:51 left. OKC’s next basket wouldn’t come until Steven Adams rocked the rim with a vicious dunk at the 4:24 mark. What we didn’t know at the time was that would be the final basket of the game for the Thunder as LA closed it out on an 18-2 run.
Steven Adams went at Boban like it was nothing 😤 pic.twitter.com/SAaRG4JM2L
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) October 20, 2018
During that stretch Los Angeles out-rebounded Oklahoma City by a margin of 11-5. Marjanovic recorded two of those boards and posted six points during that stretch, that clearly frustrated Oklahoma City.
“I thought we didn’t stick to our principles because of who was out there,” Paul George said about the final minutes. “And that’s what messed us up at the end of the day.”
The Thunder will make their home debut against Sacramento on Sunday evening. It is widely speculated that Russell Westbrook will make his return then as well.