Things went badly this game.
Shorthanded Memphis (missing Marc Gasol, Mike Conley, Matt Barnes, Mario Chalmers, Brandan Wright, Chris Andersen, and P.J. Hairston) kicked the Clippers' butts up and down the floor all night long. There was no reason this game should have been competitive, with Memphis having lost four in a row and five of seven, with two days' rest for the Clippers. Instead, Los Angeles played with little energy, let the inferior team outwork them all night long, and put out a performance reminiscent of the stinkers against Minnesota and Denver in the last two months.
Zach Randolph, cantankerous old man-mountain that he is, recorded the first triple-double of his career at age 34. He abused DeAndre Jordan all night long. DeAndre only recorded seven rebounds, tied for his lowest output of the season. And Memphis got 18 offensive rebounds, the result of hard-nosed play and lackadaisical effort from the Clippers.
Tony Allen scored 22. Tony Allen! Lance Stephenson only had 12, but crossed over Clippers defenders multiple times and seemed to be able to get to the rim whenever he wanted. New faces Xavier Munford and Ray McCallum had their way with the Clippers bench, and the latter sunk big shot after big shot down the stretch to help Memphis pull away. Memphis scored 113 despite not having a single three-point threat on their roster!
The Clippers didn't even shoot that poorly, they just showed a total inability to keep Memphis off the glass and out of the paint. The most concerning part of the game was that it wasn't the bench who lost this for the Clippers — it was the starters. Chris Paul and DeAndre Jordan were both under -20 for the game, a shocking number against such an injury-devastated opponent.
Although the game was tied at halftime (after the Clippers overcame an early double-digit deficit), they let Memphis do whatever they wanted in the second half. After falling behind 85-70 late in the third quarter, the Clippers finally started to push back a little bit. Chris Paul returned early in the 4th, and got the score within 91-88. At that point, despite the core players all being back in, the Clippers' offense sputtered to a halt once again, and their defense disappeared again.
Doc excoriated his team after the game, and rightly so. This was a gimme win if they had shown up. To add injury to insult, they lost Jeff Green to a head injury after he got rollicked by a stray Zach Randolph elbow. If it was a concussion like it seemed to be, he'll probably be out for the next few games.
Now they travel to New Orleans for a Sunday afternoon SEGABABA (playing again less than 24 hours later, we're almost certain to see the same issues again tomorrow). The Pelicans don't have Anthony Davis, and the Clippers are due for their annual inexplicable loss to them anyways.
Ultimately, this doesn't mean much in the grand scheme of the regular season (and giving Memphis a win may help them stay in the 5th seed, working out in their best interests), but the Clippers are playing some not-great basketball at the moment, and that's not a good sign at all.