The Clippers signed Jamal Crawford to do one thing: Score.
In his Clippers debut Wednesday night, Jamal Crawford scored. A lot.
He led all scorers, in fact, with 29 points in 30 minutes off-the-bench, and provided enough of a spark to help his new club get off on the right foot with a 101-92 win over Memphis in the season opener. It was the Grizzlies’ 12th season-opening defeat, the longest active streak in North American professional sports.
The Clippers also looked like a transformed team defensively, forcing Memphis to turn the ball over 21 times. The 21 turnovers led to 29 points for L.A. The Grizzlies, who led the NBA in forcing turnovers a year ago, forced the Clippers into 22 turnovers of their own. DeAndre Jordan struggled mightily holding onto the ball, as he had nine of them himself, including seven in the first half alone.
It was a good sign for the Clippers to be able to find a way to win despite subpar offensive efforts from their two stars, Chris Paul and Blake Griffin.
Paul did have 12 assists, but also shot just 4-10 for 12 points. Griffin went 4-10, as well, for 11 points and seven rebounds. He made 3-5 from the free-throw line.
These two were engaged in a gritty, physical seven-game series in the first round of last year’s playoffs, and last night appeared no different. Griffin and Memphis’ Zach Randolph repeatedly got tied up, culminating in a double-technical foul in the fourth quarter.
Eric Bledsoe’s strong play from the preseason appears to have carried over, as he also chipped-in with 13 points, four assists and four rebounds in just 17 minutes off-the-bench.
Lamar Odom, who missed much of the preseason because he was in poor physical shape, looked stronger last night than he did at any point last season while with the Mavericks. He scored just two points, but added six rebounds, two assists, two steals and a whopping four blocked shots in 17 minutes.
Rudy Gay led Memphis with 25 points, and Marc Gasol added 20 and seven rebounds. Randolph, who missed the majority of last season with injuries, struggled with his shot, going just 5-15 for 15 points. He did, however, grab 16 boards and played solid defense on Griffin all night long.
From here, the Grizzlies will head north to take on the Warriors in Oakland Friday night, while the Clippers “visit” the Lakers.
About the Author
Written by Taylor Smith
Taylor Smith is a writer for the Los Angeles Clippers.