The Los Angeles Clippers will try to put Wednesday’s last-second loss to the Lakers behind them as they host the Memphis Grizzlies Saturday afternoon at Staples Center.
The Grizzlies (9-14) have gotten off to a slow start this season as well, but are coming off of an impressive 104-98 overtime win in Phoenix on Wednesday night.
The Clippers, of course, fell 87-86 in heartbreaking fashion as Derek Fisher banked in a layup as the buzzer sounded. The loss dropped them to 5-18 on the season.
However, all five wins have come at home, while the Grizzlies are just 3-9 on the road to this point.
This will be the first of four head-to-head clashes between the teams this season, and they won’t see each other again until March 14 in Memphis.
The two teams split their four matchups last season, with the home team winning each time.
There will be plenty of youth on the court Saturday afternoon, as the Clippers will start three rookies, while the Grizzlies’ oldest starter is 29-year-old Zach Randolph.
The Clippers’ inexperience was evident late in the game against the Lakers, as they led by as much as 12 before turnovers proved costly down the stretch.
Turnovers are nothing new for the Clippers, as they commit 16.7 of them per game; good for 28th in the league out of 30 teams.
The key matchup today will be Randolph against Blake Griffin.
The 6’9″, 260-pound Randolph, a former Clipper, is averaging 17.6 points and 11.8 rebounds per game this season. Griffin’s stats are quite comparable, as he’s going for 20 points and 11.7 boards.
Considering neither player makes his name on the defensive end of the floor, points in the paint should come with decent regularity.
Clippers center DeAndre Jordan, who scored what could have been the game-winning basket with just over three seconds remaining against the Lakers, will have his hands full with the Grizzlies’ Marc Gasol.
Gasol is often lost in the shuffle playing alongside scorers like Rudy Gay, O.J. Mayo and Randolph, but Pau’s younger brother has developed into one of the most offensively efficient centers in the league.
He’s averaging 11.8 points and 7.5 rebounds per game, while he ranks second in the league in field goal percentage (61.5 percent).
Without Chris Kaman (out indefinitely after re-aggravating an ankle injury) in the middle, Jordan’s work on the defensive end will be a key to success for the Clippers.
The Clippers have won six of the last seven games against the Grizzlies at Staples Center.
About the Author
Written by Taylor Smith
Taylor Smith is a writer for the Los Angeles Clippers, and covers the Los Angeles Dodgers for ProSportsBlogging.com.