Grizzlies look to rebound versus struggling Clippers
LOS ANGELES — Memphis coach David Fizdale hopes he doesn’t witness a rerun of the exhibition his club performed Tuesday in a loss to the Los Angeles Lakers.
On Wednesday, the Grizzles attempt to stage a much better showing when they face the Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center.
The Grizzlies couldn’t stop the hot-shooting Lakers or forward Julius Randle, who recorded a triple-double with 19 points, 14 rebounds and 11 assists. It was the first triple-double against Memphis in a span of 177 games (including 192 in the postseason), the longest streak in the NBA.
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Fizdale just shook his head.
“We had our L.A. cool jacket on tonight,” Fizdale said. “I don’t know who we were performing for but it wasn’t for each other. We just have a way of having this other team creep in with us. We show signs of greatness and then we are just zombies out there and tonight was one of those nights.”
The Grizzlies (22-15) had won four of their last six before their debacle against the Lakers. The good news Tuesday was center Marc Gasol, who tweaked his left ankle in Saturday’s victory over the Sacramento Kings, returned and collected a team-high 22 points, seven assists and six rebounds against the Lakers.
The bad? Gasol isn’t a sure thing to play against the Clippers.
“I expect to be out there,” Gasol said. “We’ll see how the ankle reacts after the game (Tuesday). Obviously, it feels a little weak. I’m not as explosive by any means.”
The once-hot Clippers temporarily put an end to their losing ways on Monday. A 109-98 win over the Phoenix Suns snapped a season-high six-game losing streak for the Clippers (23-14), who have been without point guard Chris Paul (sore left hamstring) and forward Blake Griffin (right knee surgery).
Paul missed the last three games and five of the past six. He is listed as doubtful for the Memphis game. Griffin, the leading scorer at 21.2 points per game, missed nine straight contests and isn’t expected back for at least another 2-to-4 weeks.
Without them, the Clippers have endured their worst stretch this year. Before beating the Suns, the Clippers were pounded 114-88 by the Oklahoma City Thunder on Saturday and 140-116 by the Houston Rockets on Friday.
However, despite committing 20 turnovers, 12 of them coming off Phoenix steals, Los Angeles defeated the Suns with a solid defensive outing, holding them to 38.2 percent shooting. The Clippers also forced the Suns to miss 13 of their 15 attempts from 3-point range.
“We played with some urgency,” said Clippers center DeAndre Jordan, who finished with 20 rebounds, nine points and three blocks. “I think that we wanted to win so bad that we were just (playing) too fast. That is why we had so many turnovers. I feel like we played the right way. We were just trying to get each other open. Our defense was a lot better.”
The clubs split their two previous meetings this season. The Clippers won the initial one 99-88 on Nov. 4 in Memphis, while the Grizzlies earned a 111-107 decision Nov. 16 at Staples. Los Angeles captured five of its last seven contests against Memphis.