The Los Angeles Clippers (23-11) got defeated soundly by the Memphis Grizzlies (14-14) last night 122-94 at FedEx Forum. Every good team is allowed a few clunker games during a season, and this was definitely one for the Clippers. Although they had a 3 point lead after the first quarter, the rest of the game was all Grizzlies. The Grizz were able to keep Clipper stars Kawhi Leonard and Paul George in check throughout. They also had a good performances from players up and down the roster. Including a 20 point game from Tyus Jones. The Clippers just did not have it last night.
Their play was lethargic, uninspired, and unbecoming for champion hopefuls. They put up no resistance on the defensive end, and were coming up short on shots the whole night. All adding up to an embarrassing 28 point loss to a .500 team who would be happy to just squeak into the playoffs. LAC will get a chance to redeem themselves tonight, as they are set to face the Grizz again same time same place on the back end of a back-to-back.
STAR OF THE GAME
Tyus Jones and his team and game high 20 point game. When you allow an 8 point a game, end of the bench kind of player to go off on you for 20 points on 9 out of 11 shooting, it is not going to be your night. His performance goes back to the lack of defensive focus on the Clippers part. But, you really do have to credit Jones for his good play. He looked great out there and made the Clippers look outright foolish.
Last night was his night as he came out of nowhere making almost every shot he put up including 2 out of 3 3 pointers. He is not a noted scorer, so the Clippers were daring him to shoot the whole night and he made them pay for it. Let’s see tonight if last night was a fluke. I have a feeling LAC is going to not going to repeat the same defensive mistakes. They are not going to allow him to be as comfortable as he was last night.
The energy. The Clippers did not come into this game with the right amount of energy, and it showed. They came up on short on shot after shot, and were guilty of playing the matador defense. Letting guys just go right past them for layups. It was embarrassing to say the least. They looked like they knew that they were on a back-to-back and were conserving their energy for tonight. Let’s hope that was the case. This is not a team that you should be losing by almost 30 to.
Yes, the Grizzlies are a fringe playoff team, but the Clippers are aspiring to be holding The Larry O’Brien trophy at season’s end. I do not know if the team was feeling road weary, if they are looking forward to the All-Star break, or what, but they are going to need to get it together if they do not want to have a repeat of last night. The Grizzlies will be fighting hard to get over .500, so the Clips are going to need to come out like gangbusters right from the opening tap.
It is not often that the star of the game is also the surprise contributor but that is the case last night with Tyus Jones. Tyus’ name is not one that is known outside of staunch NBA nerds, so for him to lead his team to victory against one of the elite teams in the league is pretty surprising. Yes, the Clips did not make him feel them on defense, but that should not take away from his good game.
If he has another good game tonight it may very well spell doom for the Clippers once again. Every once and awhile it is actually good for a team to experience some adversity, as to avoid complacency, and to learn valuable lessons that will improve your team overall so they are ready for anything come the postseason. Hopefully the Clips will have learned their lesson when it comes to Jones, and will not let him surprise us once again tonight.
Vs. Memphis Grizzlies, Friday, February 26th at 5:00pm Pacific
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