WHERE: FedExForum in Memphis, Tennessee
WHEN: 7:00 PM CT
HOW TO WATCH/LISTEN: Fox Sports Southeast/NBA League Pass/92.9 FM ESPN Memphis
MEMPHIS: Dillon Brooks (Questionable, thigh), Jaren Jackson Jr. (Out, knee), Killian Tillie (Out, foot)
LOS ANGELES: None
PROJECTED STARTING LINEUPS:
MEMPHIS: Ja Morant, Grayson Allen, Kyle Anderson, Brandon Clarke, Jonas Valanciunas
LOS ANGELES: Patrick Beverley, Paul George, Kawhi Leonard, Nicolas Batum, Serge Ibaka
It’s been a rough few games for the Grizzlies. They essentially punted last Saturday’s game against the Suns to allow some key rotation guys to get some well earned rest after so many games in such few nights. However, the rest didn’t look like it helped much as they got whooped by the Mavericks in Dallas on Monday.
Things aren’t going to be any easier for the Grizzlies as they’re set to host the Los Angeles Clippers tonight and tomorrow. It isn’t always the greatest situation when you’re in a slump to play back-to-back games against a team with Championship aspirations. Playing against a team like the Clippers could also be exactly what the team needs to wake up and get back on track after an up and down couple of weeks. Here’s some key things to watch for as the Grizzlies look to take down the Clippers.
Keep it competitive behind the arc
Over the two game losing streak, the Grizzlies have shot 11-64 (17%) from deep. You’re just not going to win many games shooting that poorly. Throw in the fact that the Mavs and Suns shot 39-87 (44%) from deep the past two games and it’s easy to see why the Grizzlies got blown out both games. Being outscored 117-33 from distance in two games is ridiculous and obviously not a winning formula. It’s been a mix of the Grizzlies missing open shots, as well as them not creating great looks from deep. If they can at least start making the open triples, the game will be much closer. They’ll also need to vastly improve their 3-point defense against a Clippers team averaging a league-best 42% from beyond the arc. It’s a tough matchup facing a team as great as Los Angeles when you’re struggling, but the Grizzlies will need to at least close the gap from deep in order to keep things competitive with the Clippers.
Win the paint battle
The Grizzlies are one of the league leaders in points in the paint while the Clippers are middle of the pack in defending the paint. With the Grizzlies struggling to score, it’ll be important to attack the paint to try and get easy looks at the rim. If the Grizzlies can attack the paint on drives by Ja and others, or by feeding Jonas Valanciunas down low, it could force the Clippers to crash the paint which could leave the Grizzlies with some wide open 3-point shots, which hopefully they can start knocking down. The Clippers are a solid defensive team, with Kawhi Leonard and Paul George figuring to be a major pain for Ja Morant and the Grizzlies wings. With Serge Ibaka still a solid NBA defender, the Grizzlies can’t just rely on JV to bully down low. They’ll need to attack the paint as a team with lots of different movement to create open looks.
The Clippers are a good team that is playing extremely well this season. The Grizzlies are a solid team that has been inconsistent on the year. I’m not real hopeful in the Grizzlies chances of turning things around against a healthy Clippers squad. I do, however, think they’ll be able to look more like themselves and keep this a competitive game, instead of it essentially being over after the first quarter like the last two games.
Los Angeles 122, Memphis 110