Five Takeaways: Happy Birthday Montrezl

Five Takeaways: Clippers end skid with 109-100 over Memphis

by Caden Kinard

MEMPHIS — With a historic game from Lou Williams, the Clippers (24-24) get back to their winning ways, beating the Grizzlies (17-31), 109-100.

Here are five quick takeaways from the Clippers win.

Quote of the night:

“I figured out how to motivate Lou. I told him if we lose, we have practice tomorrow. From that point on, he was phenomenal.” — Doc Rivers

1) Williams catalyzes win —

The Grizzlies fought back in the second quarter when they flipped a 7-point deficit into a 1-point lead. The previously quiet FedEx Forum found life, roaring for their hometown team. Lou Williams then proceeded to silence the crowd. The Clippers rattled off a 14-2 run over a 2-minute span. Williams commanded the offense, hitting a pair of three-pointers and feeding teammates for easy buckets. By halftime, the Clippers accumulated 58 points, and Williams scored or assisted on more than half of them.

Williams finished with 40 points and 10 assists off the bench, the first player with 40+ points and 10+ assists off the bench since 1984-85. His performance tonight made it 11 straight games with 20+ as a reserve, tying the longest streak since 1983-84. His 10 assists led the team and it marked his sixth straight game with 5+ assists, the second longest streak of his career.

2) Johnson leads defense —

DeAndre Jordan doesn’t lead the Clippers in blocks. Neither does Montrezl Harrell, Blake Griffin or Willie Reed. It is in fact Wesley Johnson who leads the Clippers in blocks per game, the current starting small forward. Standing at 6-foot-7 with a 7-foot-1 wingspan, Johnson’s leveraged his length into becoming one of the Clippers best defenders during their recent stretch of success. Tonight, Johnson recorded six steals, tying a career-high, and two blocks. Johnson’s activity stymied the Grizzlies offense at times, changing passing angles and getting deflections.

3) 716 —

It’s official, DeAndre Jordan now owns the franchise record for most games played in Clippers franchise history with 716. The 35th pick out of the 2008 draft evolved into one of the most indispensable players in the league, and tonight, Jordan maximized his skill set with 15 points and 9 rebounds, running coast to coast and finishing way above the rim.

Also setting a record, albeit a personal one, was Milos Teodosic, who scored a career-high 18 points, coupled with 4 assists and only 1 turnover. Blake Griffin added 13 points, 8 rebounds, and 5 assists, with 3 three-pointers, matching a season-high.

4) Clippers capitalize on turnovers —

The Memphis offense struggled to find any rhythm, committing 20 turnovers which led to 22 points for the Clippers. Missing Mike Conley, Chandler Parsons, and Tyreke Evans, the Grizzlies were without some of their primary playmakers. Marc Gasol did his best to carry the load, recording a 13-point, 12-rebound, 10-assist triple-double. Mario Chalmers and Jarrell Martin co-led the team in scoring with 17 points.

5) Birthday Boy —

24 years ago, the world was blessed with Montrezl Harrell. The joyful and energetic third-year forward scored 12 points on 5-of-8 shooting. When Harrell scores 10+ points, the Clippers are 11-6.

What’s Next? — The Clippers head to New Orleans, facing the Anthony Davis-led Pelicans at 1:00 p.m. on Sunday.

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