Losing to the Memphis Grizzlies is never a bad thing. They’ve struggled entering the season, but Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph are catching their strides. And if any team in the NBA has Los Angeles’ number it’s Memphis.
But some glaring issues showed tonight. Ones that have been relevant in the past 10 games. And ones that were an issue in the offseason. When it comes to facing off against teams that have talented bigs, the Los Angeles Clippers struggle to put a fight due to the lack of depth in their frontcourt.
The worst night from a Grizzlies big was 10 points, 9 rebounds, 2 assists and 4 blocks. That was from Kosta Koufos who played 18 minutes tonight. From the big guns in Gasol and Randolph? They combined for 49 points, 24 rebounds, and 10 assists. It was too much for the Clippers to handle and never had a chance of stopping this three-headed onslaught. Unless a change is made, this team has a set atop the “Don’t Want to See in the Playoffs” list.
On the Los Angeles Clippers end of the spectrum, the group just didn’t have enough despite the close score. Blake Griffin, who was named Player of the Week, continued his streak of 20-10 games with a 23 point, 11 rebound performance. While Chris Paul has orchestrated this offense in ways that would make Alexandre Desplat jealous, Blake has been the best player in the last week and a half. I mentioned in a post from last week, but he’s making the leap you’d expect a player of his caliber to make. With all the highlights and early success, it’s okay to say that many anointed him as a player too fast. But he’s finally beginning to live up to the billing of all the hype that has surrounded him
Chris Paul was up to his usual tricks posting his 11th straight double-double (18 points, 11 assists, 9 rebounds), tying Magic Johnson‘s streak of 11-straight double-doubles to start a season set in the 1990 season. Despite the numbers, Paul’s jumper has abandoned him of late, shooting 36 percent from the field in the last five games.
Outside of the two marquee players, the Los Angeles Clippers struggled. The two-headed shooting guard monster in J.J. Redick and Jamal Crawford had their worst performance of the season. Even with the league’s best perimeter defender in Tony Allen ejected for kicking Chris Paul in the head, the two couldn’t muster up any offense, scoring 20 points on 24 shots. Unless the opponent is completely inferior, Los Angeles can’t win with these numbers.
This isn’t the kind of game where you can make a conclusion on what’s to come for Los Angeles in the future. But the issues that were on full display are what cause many to think this grouping of players can’t be a threat come playoff time stand out. Letting the Grizzlies score 106 points. Not being able to get a stop when it mattered. Countless defensive lapses. There’s time for improvement. Whether it be Lamar Odom or a player(s) acquired a the deadline that contributes to the development of the bench, welcome that improvement shall be.
But for tonight we’ll chalk it up to familiarity between the two parties as the reason for the loss.
Next Game: 11/20 at Minnesota Timberwolves