Former Gopher Amir Coffey Dominates in Final Bubble Game for Clippers

Photo: Los Angeles Clippers

Amir Coffey finally got his chance to shine with the Los Angeles Clippers Friday night, and shine he did. In a game where the Clippers rested four of their starters for the upcoming playoffs, the former Minnesota Golden Gophers forward recorded career-high’s in points (21), assists (4) and steals (4), while also playing a career-high 50 minutes. His effort helped lead the Clippers to a 107-103 win against the Oklahoma City Thunder. 


With rookie Terrance Mann also tallying 25 points, 14 rebounds, and nine assists, assistant coach Sam Cassell, who coached Friday’s game in place of head coach Doc Rivers, was impressed with both Coffey and Mann’s play:

“We expect the same things from our young guys that we expect from the stars of our team: play hard, play together,” Cassell said. “I’m coaching them hard, Doc was out there the first half, he coached them hard. Those guys did a great job doing the things we need to do to win the basketball game.”

Cassel via ESPN


Like Cassel said, Amir did a great job and even decided to include a few highlight dunks in the game. The dunks, which resembled his days in the Maroon and Gold, were on full display all night. Transition dunks, lob dunks, poster dunks, you name it and Amir did it. As you can see below, the best dunk was the one that didn’t even count. 


But the dunks weren’t the only way he impacted the game. He also led the Clippers in the plus-minus category with a +11 output. Considering that he played 50 minutes, a+11 is really good, as it is harder to get a positive plus-minus the more minutes one plays.

Overall, his play on Friday was undoubtedly the best — and most — he’s played all season. Coming into Friday’s game against the Thunder, Coffey had only played 11:36 since the season restarted. And prior to that, 24:31 was his most time played in a single game the whole year. That game was a 41-point blowout win over the Cleveland Cavaliers on February 9. 


But we should see a lot more of Coffey next year, however. After being signed to a two-way deal as an undrafted free agent in last years draft, Coffey spent the early part of the year in the G-League, where he played 15 games and averaged 15.7 points and 2.7 rebounds in just under 30 minutes per game. 

That output was enough to keep him with the big boys, where he played in 13 of the last 15 games before the league shut down in mid-March due to COVID-19. After Friday’s game, Amir talked about what it means to be playing with the Clippers under coach Doc Rivers: 

“Doc is a head coach that’s been in the league for a while now. He’s won championships, he’s had great coaching seasons, he’s won a lot of games. So just coming into the league it was just a blessing to be under a guy like him, and now it just shows how much a teacher of the game he is. (He’s) one of those coaches that gets into detail, let’s you know when you’re right or wrong, ya know just teaches you. And he’s a good development coach.”

Amir Coffey in postgame interview


Getting back to those 13 games, he didn’t just play a few garbage time minutes (well he did in a few of them but that’s beside the point). In eight of those 13 games, he played more than five minutes. In those eight games, he played more than 10 minutes in four of them. 

2/08/2020vs. MIN10:2442-1
2/09/2020vs. CLE24:31104+16
2/13/2020vs. BOS12:3401+1
2/22/2020vs. SAC13:5213-4
Stats of games playing double-digit minutes

His best of those four games came in the aforementioned game against the Cavaliers. In that game, he scored ten points, collected four rebounds, and had a plus-minus of +16. Not bad for the Hopkins High School alum. His coach didn’t think it was bad either: 

“I love him as a player. He’s going to have a really good future. He’s just so long, and his basketball IQ is off the charts.”

Doc Rivers on Amir Coffey

So when you look at his outputs when given an opportunity, plus Clippers head coach Doc Rivers praise for him, we should see a lot more of Amir Coffey down the road! 

Carson Ruen | Minnesota Sports Fan

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