After two disappointing bouts, the LA Clippers have finally defeated the Memphis Grizzlies. Not only that, but the Clippers have won 4 straight games. This ties their longest streak of the season dating back to their 4-0 start at the beginning of the season. It almost seems like Los Angeles has flown under the radar, quietly winning 9 out of their last 13 games.
The Clippers were led by the tremendous bench play of Lou Williams. Lou put up a stat line of: 33 points, 6 assists, on 53% shooting. This was the eighth time this season that Williams scored 30+ points off the bench, tying Nate Robinson (2008-09) for the second most in a single season since 1985. Lou is currently leading the NBA in points per game off the bench (21.6), and is averaging career-highs in points (21.7) and assists (4.8).
Rookie guard C.J. Williams also had himself a fantastic night. Williams tied his career-high in the first quarter with 12 points, and went on to finish with 18 points (7/10 shooting).
Tyreke Evans led the way for Memphis, putting up: 18 points, 5 rebounds, 6 assists, and 3 steals. However, the Clippers finally made it difficult for Evans to score, putting him in some great traps. As a result, Evans only shot 38% from the field and 25% from three. Here’s how the Clippers won this game.
Second Half Three Point Defense
The Clippers did a horrible job of defending the three point line in the first half, allowing Memphis to shoot 7/10 from deep. It seemed like Memphis was on pace to score 13 pointers again, and win the game. However, the Clippers started clicking defensively in the second half, holding Memphis to only 1/16 from three. This second half defense was sparked by the gutsy bench play.
Gutsy Bench Play
The Clippers trailed 84-77 with 2:42 left in the third quarter, but then the bench came in and sparked a 15-0 run. When you look at the box score, you would think no one other than Lou Williams contributed much. The bench’s impact went beyond the box score; they played fantastic defense, slowed the Grizzlies down, and forced them to take tougher shots.
The bench was able to slowly chip away at the deficit, until the Clippers regained the lead.
The starters struggled during this game, as Blake Griffin & Deandre Jordan were actually in the minus. Here’s what Blake had to say about the bench’s contribution.
The Final Clip: This game showed the Clipper’s ability to adapt during a game. The first half was a fast paced shoot out, while the second half was a slower & grimier game. The Clippers continue to find contributions, despite missing 3 starters. Next game, they’ll need all the contributions they can get, as they face the Oklahoma City Thunder.