After a highly entertaining home stand, the Clippers take to the road for five games to end the first half of the season. They start in Memphis with the reigning Rookie of the Year Ja Morant and the middling Grizzlies.
Memphis has had a truly strange season. The Grizzlies started off 2-6, but then reeled off seven wins in a row, except those seven wins took place over three weeks because they had six games postponed due to health and safety protocols. After that win streak, the Grizzlies lost four in a row and have basically settled into a .500 team ever since.
What the Grizzlies do well is turn their opponents over and get out in transition. Their halfcourt offense is fairly rough, and oddly dependent on shots from the floater range, but they’re young and full of athletes, so turning the game into a track meet is their best bet, especially because the Clippers are one of the slower teams in the league.
The Clippers should be able to find holes in the Memphis defense, because the Grizzlies surrender threes at a high clip, and that’s what the Clippers do best. LA’s volume of threes is about league average, but the Clippers convert from distance better than any team in the NBA.
With their full rotation available — other than Patrick Patterson, reportedly out because he has a baby on the way — the Clippers should be able to handle the Grizzlies relatively comfortably. Building an early lead and managing minutes will be important, because they’ll have to do it again the next day.
When: Thursday, Feb. 25 at 5 p.m. PT
Where: FedExForum, Memphis, Tennessee
How to watch/listen: Fox Sports Prime Ticket, ESPN, AM 570 Radio
Opposing perspective: Grizzly Bear Blues
Projected Starting Lineups
Clippers (23-10): Patrick Beverley, Paul George, Serge Ibaka, Kawhi Leonard, Nicolas Batum
Grizzlies (13-14): Brandon Clarke, Kyle Anderson, Jonas Valanciunas, Ja Morant, Grayson Allen
Clippers: Patrick Patterson (personal reasons) — OUT
Grizzlies: Dillon Brooks (right thigh) — QUESTIONABLE: Jaren Jackson Jr. (left knee), Killian Tillie (left foot) — OUT
More news for Thursday:
- The Clippers have dutifully staggered their starters for much of the season, but not all teams abide by the same approach.
- Marc Spears spoke to Black coaches in the league about their reaction to the Wolves passing over associate head coach David Vanterpool to hire an outside candidate who is white as their head coach midseason.
- One of the best five-man units in the league is the Clippers starters. Dan Devine dives into a surprising unit also near the top of list.
- NBA teams are playing an increasing number of back-to-back sets this year. Her Hoop Stats dug into the data for how those doubles play out in the college game.
- Players have gotten better than ever at drawing fouls. Royce Young examines the most clever tricks.