Lou Williams passes pair of NBA milestones for scoring off the bench

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With his second 40-point game of the season on Friday, two-time Sixth Man of the Year Award winner Lou Williams continues to rewrite the NBA record books.

In a 118-110 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Los Angeles Clippers guard set the NBA record for most career 30-point games off the bench while moving into second all-time for bench scoring.

Williams led all players on Friday with 40 points on 13-of-24 shooting, marking his 28th game with at least 30 points off the bench. That surpasses Ricky Pierce’s previous record of 27.

Much of that total has come in the last three seasons, during which Williams has reached the 30-point threshold 23 times. There have been 12 different seasons in which a player has scored 30 points off the bench at least six times, and Williams has three of those in the last three seasons.

“[I’m] just going in and [try] to play as hard as I can, make an impact on the game,” Williams said after the game. “Those are legacy things. I’ve been coming off the bench for the past decade, so it means a lot to do those things.”

Williams’ prolific scoring off the bench also moved him past former Clipper Jamal Crawford (11,104) for the second-most points as a reserve with 11,120. Crawford is still active, although he turns 39 on March 20. He is averaging just 6.4 points per game for the Phoenix Suns, his lowest since his rookie season in 2000-01.

All that’s left ahead of Williams is former Charlotte Hornets great Dell Curry, who leads all reserve scorers with 11,147 points. It should only be a matter of games before Williams is the all-time leader since he’s averaging 20.2 points per game.

The Clippers next play on back-to-back nights, hosting the Boston Celtics and Portland Trail Blazers on Monday and Tuesday, respectively.

Clippers guard Lou Williams will soon become the highest scoring bench player of all-time.
Los Angeles Clippers' Lou Williams during an NBA basketball game Monday, March 4, 2019, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Can Williams lock up another Sixth Man award?

Williams leads all players to not start a game in scoring, and Cleveland Cavaliers guard Jordan Clarkson (17.0 ppg) is the only other such player to average more than 15 points per game.

This — combined with the Clippers’ unlikely playoff run — makes Williams a heavy favorite to repeat as Sixth Man of the Year. His other major competition could come from Minnesota Timberwolves guard Derrick Rose, Brooklyn Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie and Clippers teammate Montrezl Harris.

New Orleans Pelicans forward Julius Randle is putting up career-best numbers in a breakout season — 20.7 points and 8.8 rebounds per game — but he’s played so well that he’s been moved into the starting lineup in the second half and has likely played his way out of the award for top reserve.

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