After one of the worst shooting displays you’d hope to see from the LA Clippers in their first loss of the season Wednesday night, the Clippers turned around and shot even worse from the field in Memphis Friday night. But while they lost the battle against the Thunder at the FT line, the Clippers outscored the Grizzlies by 10 at the FT line at FedExForum to win 99-88.
The Clippers had issues rebounding against the Thunder despite shooting 39.1 percent from the field. Against the Grizzlies, the Clippers shot only 37.6 percent from the field. But the Clippers held the Grizzlies to 36.9 percent from the field, evened up the rebounds at 48, and scored 30 points off of Memphis’ 19 turnovers.
The Clippers had 17 steals, the most since they had 18 steals in January of last season vs. the Heat. Memphis head coach David Fizdale had a front row seat to both of those games, as he was Miami’s assistant coach last season.
“Turnovers. Turnovers. Turnovers. Turnovers,” Fizdale lamented after the game. “Not showing an ability to move on to the next play really killed us tonight.”
Clippers PG Chris Paul had 6 of the team’s 17 steals to go along with 27 points, 4 rebounds, 11 assists, and 2 blocks. Paul’s night included:
- Becoming franchise’s all-time assists leader (3,502), passing the late Randy Smith (3,498)
- Matching Hall of Fame PG John Stockton with his 29th career game with at least 20 points, 10 assists, and 5 steals since 1983-1984
- Joining Drew League legend Baron Davis as the only players since 1985-1986 to have a game with that many points, rebounds, assists, steals and blocks
“͞It’s unbelievable because he usually sees the play that’s open before everyone else does,” said backup SG Jamal Crawford. “The really good passes, they’re really in tune with what to call, what to call to misdirect people when he wants to get a shot. He’s really like the guy orchestrating the whole thing, like if it’s a band, he’s the orchestrater. He does a phenomenal job at it.”
Clippers starting bigs Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan had underwhelming nights against the Thunder, but they both hit the glass hard in Memphis. Griffin struggled with his shot again, finishing with only 14 points on 5-of-13 shooting from the field (38.5 percent), but he grabbed 10 rebounds to give him 4 double-doubles already this season. Jordan bounced back from a season-low 6-rebound game against the Thunder to grab a season-high 21 rebounds against Memphis.
In all, this was a needed strong game for the starting lineup of Paul-Redick-Mbah a Moute-Griffin-Jordan. That unit outscored Memphis 41-30 in 18 minutes on the floor together, compiling a net rating of 32.5 in the process. The other three Clippers lineups that played at least 4 minutes all compiled a negative net rating in a combined 17 minutes.
The Grizzlies got nice games from PG Mike Conley (30 points on 9-of-20 FGs), C Marc Gasol (21 points on 7-of-18 FGs) and backup PF Zach Randolph (15 points on 6-of-11 FGs). But the rest of the team combined to score only 22 points on 9-of-35 shooting from the field (25.7 percent). Rookie PG Wade Baldwin particularly struggled off the bench, turning the ball over 4 times in only 14:10.
Before the game, we asked ClipperBlog followers if they felt the Grizzlies were a chief rival at this point. The results were a significant rejection, and Fizdale thought his team didn’t show up for a rivalry game after the fact:
The Clippers are in Memphis tonight. The last time these two teams met in postseason was 2013 – are Grizzlies still a chief rival?
— ClipperBlog (@clipperblog) November 4, 2016
“We didn’t bring our rivalry game. That wasn’t a rivalry game,” Fizdale said after the game. “I’ve been in rivalry games. That was not a rivalry game. They came to play a rivalry game. We didn’t. We fought within our own minds more than we fought them individually. I expect the next time we play them, we will bring a much better effort and better execution. We will come with a chip on our shoulder. That didn’t feel like a rivalry game at all. That felt like a regular season game between two teams and they play each other twice. I think you guys felt it too. I don’t think you felt the normal Clippers, Grizzlies clash. I take some of that on my shoulders obviously. I will go back and evaluate my performance and things I can do better for the team. Hopefully we come back out next game with a lot more passion and intensity.”
Maybe the Grizzlies didn’t bring the intensity on the floor, but at least there’s no love lost for the Clippers in Memphis:
— The Step Back (@The_Step_Back) November 4, 2016