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Clippers are eager listeners when Lou Williams has something to say

LOS ANGELES — Of course these Clippers are led by a guy off the bench.
No, Lou Williams is no ordinary reserve, having become the NBA’s greatest bench scorer on record with Monday’s 34-point performance. But he offers more than 20.4 points per game for a Clippers team that’s closing in on a postseason appearance despite a roster devoid of a “superstar,” or even anyone who’s ever been named an All-Star.
It’s Williams and Pat Beverley who have set the tone for the Clippers’ improbable success; Beverley brings the fire, Williams the ice.
But Beverley will readily tell you that he’s learned a lot about leadership from Williams, about accountability and focus, and about embracing big moments.
“He’s the only person in this locker room who can calm me down and that’s big-time,” Beverley said. “He doesn’t do a lot of yelling, he doesn’t do a lot of extra (stuff), but he comes in, focused, gets his work in. He’s smooth, cool, chill and like I say, when he speaks, we all listen, for sure.
“He’s our leader and when he’s got it going, you see we like to give him the ball and keep it going because a lot of good things happen.”
Center Ivica Zubac played with Williams on the Lakers during the 2106-17 season, and he remembers Williams’ words carrying a lot of weight in that locker room too.
“Everyone wants to hear what he’s got to say, and when he’s talking it’s something important,” Zubac said. “You know that’s something that we need to work on or it’s a problem. You know if he’s saying it, everyone’s going to listen to him.”
“He is the complete opposite of who I thought he was,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. “He has been a delight to coach, he is a tremendous leader in the locker room. And honestly, from afar, I just saw him walk in and score and it looked like he just walked in and did his thing and left. I thought he was more indifferent.
“(But) he has what I call a heater; he runs hot at times,” Rivers added. “And when he does, he gets on his guys. What I love the most about him is how much he teaches the young guys, he’s really in tune to them. I would’ve never guessed that he was that way, and yet he is.”

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Ying Yang Twins
A post shared by Lou Williams (@louwillville) on Feb 4, 2019 at 10:43am PST

Williams has shown he embraces his role as a sixth man, and as a leader on a team intent on proving itself, much as he was when he initially began being used off the bench.
“It took some time, it took some resentment: ‘If you think that I need to come off the bench, I’m gonna put you in a position to try to prove me wrong,’ ” Williams said Monday night. “And I think after a while, I was like, ‘This is kind of fun. This is kind of interesting.’
“(Now) I wouldn’t say we had a chip on our shoulders because we don’t play angry. We play happy, we play free, we play together, we laugh, we have a good time out there on the floor,” he added. “But we have a lot of guys in this room who try to prove their names every night, with whatever they bring to the table, and it works for us.”
The Clippers plan to sign 6-foot-5 guard Justin Bibbs to a 10-day contract on Wednesday, a league source said.
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The 23-year-old guard is averaging 11.8 points and 2.6 assists for the G League’s Maine Red Claws.
As a senior at Virginia Tech, Bibbs – the nephew of Pro Football Hall of Fame cornerback Michael Haynes – averaged 13.3 points, shot 40 percent on 3-pointers and was regarded for his defense.
Danilo GaIlinari sat out Tuesday night against Portland, resting on the second half of the back-to-back, according to the team. In Monday’s 140-115 victory against the Celtics, the 30-year-old forward scored 25 points in 27 minutes.

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