The Clippers first three losses this season, all for which have been right at home in Staples, has showcased a team that has been playing one-on-one ball, a totally different style that led LA to their first four wins of the season, resulting in a 113-104 loss against the Memphis Grizzlies Saturday afternoon.
”If I had one frustration, offensively in the three games we’ve lost, we kind of get stuck,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. ”The ball stays on one side of the floor. It’s not moving. If you don’t see our guards at the basket a lot, it probably means we’re not moving the ball. That was disappointing.”
The sole 7-6 lead for the Clippers came in the opening minutes of the first quarter, as Memphis seemingly flipped a switch and never looked back.
Memphis found themselves leading throughout the game and had already found a rhythm early, making it difficult for LA to swing momentum.
“They came out with the first punches, the second punches and we had a couple,” added Austin Rivers. “But it seemed like the whole night we were trying to get our rhythm or energy. I don’t want to use the word rhythm; our fight. We were trying to fight and they were already feeling it.”
One of the key differences to the game was the lack of contribution the Clippers had gotten from their bench.
Blake Griffin scored a game-high 30 points and also snagged 11 rebounds, as Patrick Beverley added 23 points of his own.
However, Memphis’s bench alone poured in 55 total points, outscoring LA’s two top scorers; also outscoring the Clippers second unit 55-22.
Lou Williams was the only substitute for the Clippers to reach double-digits with 13 points, while Memphis had four players off the bench in double-figures.
Tyreke Evans led the second unit with 20 points off the bench, Brandan Wright had 13, Mario Chalmers 12 and Chandler Parsons 10.
“They did a good job sharing the ball and everyone knocked down shots for them,” said Blake Griffin. “We need to do a better job of not giving up so many open looks, I think that’s kind of the reason why they had so much success.”
Mike Conley returned to the lineup after sitting out his last game with a sore Achilles and led all Memphis players with 22 points; Marc Gasol finished right under Conley with 21 points.
”Any time you can get multiple guys in double figures, it means the ball’s moving, everybody’s in rhythm, people are being unselfish,” said Grizzlies coach David Fizdale.
For the Clippers, poor defensive efforts weren’t their only problems, offensively, L.A. was no better as they shot a season low 15.4% (four of 26) from three-point range, while Memphis shot 41.9%, making (13 of 31) of their three-point shots.
“We missed a lot of wide open threes, but we also took some bad ones,” said coach Doc Rivers.
“I didn’t like the rhythm of our offense at all.”