Streaking Clippers play host to Grizzlies
LOS ANGELES — Despite being the NBA’s hottest team, the Los Angeles Clippers believe there is room for improvement.
"At the end of the day, we like us, but as good as we are playing now, we could be playing a lot better," Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. "I think that our guys believe that this is a different group, and it is. The bench is immensely different, and we have an amazing chemistry."
The Clippers will shoot for their eighth consecutive win Wednesday night when they mix it up with the Memphis Grizzlies at Staples Center.
Owners of the league’s best record, the Clippers (10-1) have dominated at home, winning five of six. Their home margin of victory is an average of 25.2 points per game. Overall, they have outscored the opposition by 183 points, the largest differential in the NBA.
On Monday, the Clippers pounded the Brooklyn Nets 127-95 at Staples. Point guard Chris Paul led the way with 21 points, nine assists and five steals. The Clippers had 21 steals for the game.
"For us, it’s just about doing the right things consistently," said Clippers guard Jamal Crawford, who came off the bench to score 17 points against the Nets. "No matter who we are playing, we’re all just working on us, so that’s good for us."
Defense has been the most consistent asset, as the Clippers lead the league in points allowed (92.2 per game) and points differential (plus-16.6). Los Angeles also is tops in opponents’ field-goal percentage at 40.9 percent.
On offense, the Clippers are averaging 108.8 points per game, which is fourth best.
Never known for its scoring prowess, Memphis has struggled on offense. The Grizzlies average 97.5 points per game, tied for 26th in the NBA. They are allowing 101.9 points (11th best).
The Grizzles (5-5) are in the midst of a four-game road trip. After a 106-96 setback at Milwaukee to open the swing, they bounced back with a 102-96 decision Monday over the Jazz at Utah. It was the Grizzlies’ first win away from home after three defeats.
"I feel like this is the best four quarters we’ve put together," first-year Memphis coach David Fizdale said. "They want to win. They really want this, and we worked really hard over the last couple of days to clean things up."
Memphis center Pau Gasol added, "The first half was really good as far as percentage goes. The second half we became a little more static but were able to find the open guy and execute a little bit, especially down the stretch."
In addition to Gasol, Memphis is getting a lift from several of its veteran players, most notably 39-year-old forward Vince Carter, who is averaging 19 points on 60 percent shooting from the floor in the past three games.
"I just love the guy," Fizdale said, according to the Memphis Commercial Appeal. "How can you not root for one of the great citizens of this league? Everyone respects him. The locker room will do anything for him."
Memphis guard Tony Allen (right groin) sat out his third consecutive game Monday. Brandan Wright (left ankle) has yet to play this season. Neither is expected to be available against Los Angeles.
Clippers forward Wesley Johnson (left heel contusion) missed the past two games. Johnson said he expects to return for the Memphis game.
The Clippers defeated the Grizzlies 99-88 in the teams’ initial meeting this season on Nov. 4 at Memphis.
- Brandan Wright
- Brooklyn Nets
- Chris Paul
- FOX Sports San Diego
- FOX Sports San Diego - Top Headlines
- Jamal Crawford
- Los Angeles Clippers
- Memphis Grizzlies
- Tony Allen
- Vince Carter
- Wesley Johnson