Boban Marjanovic: 19 points, eight rebounds, 11-12 FT
Danilo Gallinari: 17 points, five rebounds
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander: 12 points, four rebounds, four assists, three steals, +10
Tobias Harris: Seven points, 12 rebounds, 2-13 FG
Lou Williams: 12 points, seven assists
Based off the last battle on Nov. 23, this game was bound to be tight and hard-fought. It didn’t disappoint in that regard but with a score that resembles mid 2000’s NBA, instead of the fast-paced NBA we see today, it was a frustrating watch. We knew coming into this game that it would be a battle no matter the outcome. The Clippers were held to a season low 86 points in an absolute grinder of a contest that saw both teams shoot under 45 percent and have a combined 35 turnovers. This game was the definition of ugly: neither team could consistently score and gain any rhythm. It was also full of grit and grind for both teams, as the Clips crawled back from multiple double-digit deficits. However, it ultimately it wasn’t enough
The first quarter was really bad for the Clips: they came out flat-footed and couldn’t hit water from a boat. The only positive in the starting lineup from the get-go was the aggressiveness of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. The Grizzlies’ length bothered the Clips early on, as they were getting in passing lanes and contesting the Clippers jumpshots, frustrating the Clippers. The bench provided a bit of energy, as Trez and Lou scored a bit, but when you shoot 6-20 in the frame and the opponent has 10 fast break points and you have none, that’s a problem.
The second quarter started much the same way, as the Clips started 1-for-9 out the gate. Tobias Harris had his worst night in a Clippers uniform and didn’t hit a shot until the fourth quarter. The irony of this is that he had a plus/minus of 7 and played solid defense. Boban, however, got some run in the second period, and the frame with 12 points and six rebounds. His play sparked a 12-3 Clippers run that had the Clips within single digits after trailing by 18 earlier in the quarter. Mike Conley made a buzzer-beating three to take a nine point lead into the locker room, but momentum was squarely on the Clips side.
The third quarter finally saw the Clips playing the brand of basketball we know from them this season, as they grinded and fought and started to knock down some shots. They went on an 11-0 run to begin the quarter, and with Boban continuing his strong play, Lou knocking down shots, and Trez starting to get involved, the Clips looked like a far better team. They ended the frame tied at 69 against a Grizzlies team that looked tired and was fouling at an abnormally high rate. The Clips had all the momentum going into the final quarter, a frame which usually the Clippers dominate….
But, unfortunately, 4th quarter magic wasn’t in the cards tonight. The Grizz were nailing shots and getting help from everywhere, as Shelvin Mack had five points in the frame and JaMychal Green killed the Clips with cuts to the rim and hustle plays. Everyone on the Clips reverted back to their broken-shooting ways, and were out hustled and defended on their way to a ten point loss at the hands of the Grizz.
Worst shooting night of the season: At 33.8 percent, this was the worst shooting night of the season for the Clippers. It was also Tobias Harris’ worst shooting night of his Clipper career, as he went a putrid 2-13 from the field. Sometimes the ball refuses to go into the hole, and this was one of those nights.
Clips offensive rebounds: After getting bullied on the offensive boards the last few games, the Clips had 11 offensive rebounds tonight, tying the Grizzlies total. Although the Clips are a longer team (and boy did that show), they did a good job of getting tip-outs on shots and boxing out. The energy was there (sometimes), just not the shots.
End of quarter points: The Clips gave up five easy points to the Grizzlies simply by being dumb late in the second and third frames. The Conley three was off an avoidable turnover and Joakim Noah’s tip-back was just lazy rebounding by Boban. The game is different without those buckets, and the Clips need to be more focused in those situations.