Game Preview: Clippers host Grizzlies looking for fourth straight win
The Clippers might be 0-2 against Memphis this season, but they are 3-0 over the past week.
On Tuesday, something will have to give.
The suddenly hot Clippers (16-19) will host the Memphis Grizzlies (12-25) on Tuesday at STAPLES Center, in what will be the second of five consecutive home games for L.A.
So far this season, Memphis has had the Clippers’ number, defeating L.A. 113-104 on Nov. 4 at STAPLES Center, and then again on Dec. 23 in Memphis, 115-112. However, the Clippers are arguably playing their best basketball of the season over the past two weeks, posting a record of 5-1 since Dec. 20, with their lone loss coming to the Grizzlies during that span.
In six games since a 109-91 loss in San Antonio on Dec. 18, the Clippers have averaged 116.2 points, five of which have been wins. In addition, those five wins have been by an average of 14.6 points.
Highlighting the Clippers recent success is the return of superstar forward Blake Griffin, who in two games is averaging 24.5 points, 6.5 rebounds, 6.0 assists, a block and a steal in 32.5 minutes.
25p/7r/6a/1s/2b | @blakegriffin32 scored 25 points against the Charlotte Hornets, and also had his first multi-block game of the season. #NBAVote— LA Clippers (@LAClippers) January 1, 2018
: https://t.co/93OVndrgHR pic.twitter.com/VUGIfAFw4U
However, no Clipper has been hotter or more impressive than Lou Williams in recent weeks. Over his last five games, Williams is averaging 30.4 points on 48 percent shooting from the field and 49 percent shooting from three. On Sunday, in the Clippers 106-98 win over Charlotte, Williams dropped 40 points off the bench, his second 40+ performance of the year.
Williams’ 40 points on Sunday marked his 13th 20+ point game of the season as a reserve and his 8th game of 30+ points this season, seven of which have come off the bench. He also passed J.R. Smith for most 30+ point games as a reserve among active NBA players (17).
Memphis will come into Tuesday’s matchup 3-3 in their last six. In their Dec. 20 win over the Clippers, the Grizzlies overcame a career-high 38-point performance from Austin Rivers and a 36-point performance from Williams to knock off the Clippers, who were on a two-game win streak at that point.
Rivers, who is averaging career-highs in points (15.8), assists (3.6), steals (1.25), three-point percentage (40.5%) and minutes (32.7), missed Sunday’s game against Charlotte with a sore right Achilles. He is day-to-day and listed as questionable for Tuesday.
Tuesday’s game will tip off at 7:30 p.m.