Marreese Speights’ personality helps Clippers lighten up

first_imgDoc Rivers has joked that Speights has little to worry or stress about because of his approach to offense.“You would never be afraid either if you shot all the time,” Rivers said of the Clippers’ back-up big man. “…He’s just a great guy to have on your team. You know he’s going to come in with the gun loaded. It’s 100 percent that it’s going to be loaded. He’s going to use it. But, he’s also doing other things. He takes charges. He rebounds for us.”He plays with the bravado of the Golden State Warriors, his former team. He also doesn’t mind the bumps and bruises that define another one of his former stops with the Memphis Grizzlies.Speights is having one of the best seasons of his career, averaging 10.2 points and 5.0 rebounds in only 16.5 minutes. Oh, and he’s launching up shots – 7.5 per game including 3.5 from deep. He’s also drawn a NBA-leading 21 charges.When he drills a high-arcing 3-pointer, he’ll celebrate. When he drives to the basket and scores, he’ll stare at his right hand, almost marveling at what he just accomplished. And, whoever is on the Clipper bench is usually standing, celebrating with “Mo Buckets.”“It’s contagious,” Bass said. “Those types of players and that kind of spirit, it’s contagious. I just think that’s his personality. That’s true to him. And, it shows on the court – feeling good, playing good.”It’s something they could’ve used more of in years past, when it didn’t always look like the Clippers were enjoying themselves.“When you can have fun like that and you can win basketball games, that’s what it’s all about,” Clipper guard Raymond Felton said. “That’s when we take it to the next level, when we can have fun but at the same time, be serious about what we’re doing out there.”As much as the points, rebounds and charges, this is what Speights has given the Clippers.“This team and city welcomed me with open arms even though I used to be rivals with multiple teams,” he said. “It’s been a blessing. It’s been great being here, playing for a team, a city and playing with this team – being able to play for Doc Rivers and with all these guys. It’s been a blessing. It’s been fun and I’m enjoying every minute of it.”Speights eventually grabbed that 10th rebound Monday night to go with a season-high 23 points, the ball falling right into his arms. He got his double-double and the fans and bench all cheered.And Bass wasn’t anywhere near the play. LOS ANGELES >> The Clipper bench erupted in wild laughter. The front rows under the basket could barely believe what they just saw.Marreese Speights, a mountain of a human who looks like someone you’d have to get past on the way to a bout with Mike Tyson in an old video game, gave Brandon Bass a look. Better yet, it was a glare.In the final minutes of the Clippers’ win over Oklahoma City Monday night, Speights had his massive frame camped out underneath the basket, arms pointed toward the Staples Center roof. He was ready to grab a rebound – his 10th of the night.But out of nowhere, Bass skied through the air to intercept the ball. And before Speights started to jog down to the offensive end, he had something to say — well something he wanted to communicate. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorcenter_img “I thought it was a selfish play by Mo,” JJ Redick deadpanned, as Speights sat to his right. “Brandon is out there just busting his tail, trying to get a defensive rebound and have us win the possession. I don’t know if that look was necessary.”Speights spoke up.“I don’t remember,” he said with a grin.Whether at the podium, on the bench or on the court, Speights has injected the Clipper team with life and, frankly, some joy.“We look like we’re having fun, right?” he rhetorically asked. “That’s what I’ve been trying to do. They’ve accepted it. You got to win and you got to have fun. You can’t always be a military-style team. You have to have fun and you have to relax.”last_img

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