WHERE: FedExForum in Memphis, Tennessee
WHEN: 7:00 PM CT
HOW TO WATCH/LISTEN: Fox Sports Southeast/92.9 FM ESPN Memphis
MEMPHIS: Dillon Brooks (Out, knee), Chandler Parsons (Out, knee)
L.A. CLIPPERS: Luc Mbah a Moute (Out, knee), Jerome Robinson (Out, foot)
PROBABLE STARTING LINEUPS:
MEMPHIS: Mike Conley, Garrett Temple, Kyle Anderson, Jaren Jackson Jr., Marc Gasol
L.A. CLIPPERS: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Avery Bradley, Tobias Harris, Danilo Gallinari, Marcin Gortat
Make no mistake, the Memphis Grizzlies have taken a step back of late.
The Grizzlies are 1-4 in their last five games, with their one victory coming against the Brooklyn Nets in double overtime in a game that required a minor miracle curated by one Jaren Jackson Jr. Memphis has struggled to play their style of game in terms of pace, and without the personnel to keep up with most NBA teams in terms of style and athleticism the Grizzlies have let early leads slip away due to a lack of energy and execution in the second half of these losses.
If Memphis hopes to get things back on the up and up, they will have to do so against one of the surprise success stories of the season so far, the L.A. Clippers. Doc Rivers is a legitimate early season Coach of the Year candidate, Tobias Harris looks to be in the running for Most Improved Player, and the Clippers as a whole seem to have...dare I say it...good team chemistry?
There is a first time for everything, I suppose. L.A. is good. How can the Grizzlies get back to even with the Clippers for the season?
Get Kyle Anderson in positions to be successful on offense
The following will surprise no one-
Kyle Anderson is not a spot up shooter. That isn’t the strength of his game, and it never will be.
KA thrives when he is able to facilitate offense and create for others, either at the top of the key or around the elbow and on the perimeter. He thrives when he is able to cut to the rim and make an impact in and around the paint against smaller, shorter wings. He shines as a player who cleans up messes, who is given opportunity to right wrongs and help piece together sets and turn them in to easy attempts in the lane.
And yet, you see too many jumpers from Kyle Anderson.
He needs to be more of a force as a scorer, not beyond his means but just in a place to be a factor that must be accounted for. While he is unique, and it’s understandable it would take a while for him to find his footing with a new team, it is on J.B. Bickerstaff to get Kyle comfortable and play to his strengths.
The sooner these things happen consistently, the sooner the Memphis offense will look better.
Keep the Clippers off the line
Looking at you, Jaren.
Beyond JJJ and his foul troubles (and them leading to playing time issues), the Clippers are actually very effective at getting to, and converting at, the free throw line. L.A. is 2nd in the NBA in both free throws made and free throws attempted, and they are 5th in the Association in free throw percentage. In fact, there are four Clippers players (Gallinari, Lou Williams, Harris, and Alexander) who all average at least three attempts at the charity stripe per contest while converting near or above 80% of their shots.
Easy opportunities off of fouls by Jaren Jackson Jr. and others from Memphis would make the task of beating the Clippers that much harder for the Grizzlies. Moving feet, clean rotations, and not reaching on defense must be a priority.
If the Grizzlies want to be serious playoff players for the whole season, these are games they need to win. As silly as it sounds, playoff tiebreakers can be won or lost even in December, and the Clippers are up 1-0 on Memphis as of now. Tonight, however, the Grizzlies are at home and have had two full days of rest between their loss in Philly and this game against L.A. Memphis should be relatively fresh and ready for the fight.
Look for strong Marc Gasol, Jaren Jackson Jr., and Mike Conley performances to cancel out the great team chemistry of the Clippers, but for the role players like Garrett Temple to have strong showings at home to lead Memphis to a hard fought win over L.A.
Memphis 108, L.A. Clippers 103
Stats provided by basketball-reference.com