In this case, having a back-to-back was a blessing for the Clips, as they got to avenge an ugly outing the night before with a completely different showing.
Ty Lue went with his top starting five of Patrick Beverley, Paul George, Kawhi Leonard, Nicolas Batum and Serge Ibaka, with only Patrick Patterson (personal reasons) out for the night.
A tight 1st quarter wrapped with Tyus Jones hitting a layup and the extra point after a foul for Memphis, before Lou Williams skated through the Grizzlies’ defense to take the Clippers ahead by two points, 32-30.
The game stayed tight in the first half of the 2nd quarter, before LA started to put some distance between them and their opponent, ending up with a 16-point lead at halftime after Ibaka’s late 3-pointer, which made it 63-47.
The Clippers continued to dominate in the 2nd half, and made plays at both ends of the court, highlighted by Ibaka’s block on Jonas Valanciunas in the 3rd quarter.
Terance Mann got a nice run during the game and played some of his best ball to date in the NBA, notching 13 points and six rebounds in 17 and a half minutes of work.
With the Grizzlies chipping away at the deficit midway through the 4th quarter, Leonard attempted a 3-pointer that was off-target, but he was fouled on the play and buried all three free throws to help hold Memphis off.
But the Grizzlies just didn’t give up and they pushed on, Batum hitting a vital 3-pointer with 2:18 to play to give LA a 13-point lead. On the other end, Ja Morant was ejected after contesting a non-call, which helped the Clippers’ cause down the stretch.
Leonard led all scorers on the night with 30 points, with seven players reaching double digits for the Clippers. He also led the team in rebounds, with nine, while three players — Ibaka, Beverley and Ivica Zubac — each tallied two blocks.
Based on the sheer volume of games in a compressed schedule, teams are bound to have off nights on occasion. It’s not something you want to see as a habit, but the good news is the Clippers came out of a bruising loss no worse for wear, wrapping up their trip to Memphis with a good win, as the road trip continues.
The Clippers will travel Saturday and have a marquee game on tap Sunday afternoon, at the Milwaukee Bucks. Can LA get the best of Giannis and the Bucks? Should be a good game.