The past few days for the Clippers have been filled with pleasant surprises, starting, of course, with the acquisitions of Norman Powell and Robert Covington from the Trail Blazers. While a lot could be discussed about the particularities of the trade and what it means for the Clippers in the long run, Powell and Covington made themselves known in an explosive debut that saw 28 and 13 points from each of them, respectively.
With the matchup against the third-place Grizzlies looming, however, the new additions will be tested by a young, hungry team led by Ja Morant. Their offense and defense currently rank among the top 10 in the NBA, and their offensive rebounding numbers top all others in the league. Considering the ongoing rebounding problems the Clippers have faced this season, players like Covington might be counted on to supplement traditional big men on the boards.
However, we can’t be too quick to count the Clippers out ahead of this matchup, especially when looking at the last game. After all, Powell and Covington are still getting used to the SoCal sun (Powell might just be readjusting to his UCLA days), and double digit performances from each of them against the defending champs is something worth noting. Marcus Morris has also been playing well as of late, having scored 29 points against the Lakers before scoring 20 against the Bucks, acting as an additional scoring threat as Paul George and Kawhi Leonard remain on the sidelines.
When: Tuesday, February 8 at 5 p.m. PT
Where: FedExForum, Memphis, TN
How to watch/listen: Bally Sports SoCal, AM 570 ESPN
Opposing perspective: Grizzly Bear Blues
Projected Starting Lineups
Clippers: Reggie Jackson, Amir Coffey, Marcus Morris Sr., Nicolas Batum, Ivica Zubac
Grizzlies: Ja Morant, Desmond Bane, Ziaire Williams, Jaren Jackson Jr., Steven Adams
Clippers: Jay Scrubb — DAY-TO-DAY; Paul George, Kawhi Leonard, Jason Preston — OUT
Grizzlies: Yves Pons — DAY-TO-DAY; Dillon Brooks — OUT
It’s difficult to set expectations for the Clippers’ immediate future as the rotation and lineups are in flux, but this game against the Grizzlies could be useful in gauging how the team will have to operate with Powell and Covington both for this season, and for when George and Leonard do return to the court.