Los Angeles, CA.—The Los Angeles Clippers (16-8) came into this game tied for first place in the Western Conference with the Denver Nuggets then had their season low 15 points to start the game against the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday night.
Just less than two weeks after the Clippers scored only 16 points in a win against this same Memphis team (112-107 in OT) the day after Thanksgiving.
Photo By: AP Photo/Brandon Dill
The Grizzlies jumped on the Clippers to start the game with a 10-0 run. They went into the 2nd quarter with a 27-15 lead while holding the Clippers to their season low. The Grizzlies controlled the game for much of the first half, then went into halftime with a 51-42 lead on a running three-point buzzer beater from Mike Conley with his wrong hand. They held the Clippers to 26% shooting from the field.
Then the resilient Clippers scored 11-0 straight points in the 3rd quarter to take a 53-51 lead. They played like a team knowing they were better than the way they played in the first half by scoring 27 points and holding the Grizzlies to just 18 points and holding Memphis leading scorer Mike Conley (who had 17 points in the first half) scoreless in the 3rd.
Then the tough Grizzlies team outscored the Clippers 27-17 in the final quarter. They finished Los Angeles off with an 96-86 victory.
"It was the Grizzlies," coach Doc Rivers said of the poor shooting. "They just defended us well. This is the first night that I can say that we got our butts kicked."
Tobias Harris the leading scorer for the Clippers started 0-10 from the field and didn't make his first basket until the 4th quarter. "I had shots that I normally make, and they just didn't fall" Harris said . He finished with 7 points and a game-high 12 rebounds.
Danilo Gallinari (17 points) and rookie Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (12 points) were they only starters to score in double figures.
Back up center Boban Marjanovic was the bright spot for coach Doc Rivers scoring a team-high 19 points in just 13 minutes. He only took five shots making four and was 11-12 from the free throw line. Lou Williams chipped in with 12 points on just 2-8 shooting.
The Clippers turned the ball over 18 times.
Photo By: Brandon Dill / Associated Press
The Memphis Grizzlies (14-9) led by Mike Conley currently sits sixth amongst the tight Western Conference.
Conley led all scorers with 22 points and had that buzzer beater to end the first half but to him it wasn't about that. It was about the defensive performance his team showed to a team that sits fourth in scoring and averages 116 points/gm.
"That's been the answer for years for us," Conley said of the defense. "Regardless of what we do on the offensive end, we give ourselves a chance to win every night with the defensive performances we get from each individual guy.
JaMychal Green was big off the bench with a double-double scoring 19 points and grabbing 11 rebounds (team-high). Center Marc Gasol the second leading scorer (17.4 PPG) for Memphis struggled offensively going 1-13 from the field and did notmake any of his five three point attempts.
Joakim Noah played his first game since signing with the Grizzlies earlier this week after he was released by the Knicks at the start of the season. Noah played 13 minutes and scored four points.
He was a spark for the Grizzlies in his limited minutes and said after the game:
"I'm really happy, I don't expect anything anymore. I've been in this league for a while now, and sometimes you kind of take it for granted."
Memphis takes on the New Orleans Pelicans on Friday 12/7.
Clippers travel back to Los Angeles to take on Dwayne Wade and the Miami Heat on Saturday 12/8.