The Los Angeles Clippers and the Memphis Grizzlies have developed a bit of a rivalry in recent seasons after meeting the past couple of years in the NBA Playoffs. These two teams aren’t a part of a blood, sweat, tears type of battle with one another just yet, but there is certainly a bit of aggression and animosity built up between the two rosters.
One of the reasons that these two teams have started to develop this rivalry, though, is the fact that their games and series always seem to be tightly contested. These two teams know how the other likes to operates, which results in an entertaining series of moves and countermoves by both squards.
As the Clippers traveled to Memphis on Thursday night, though, it was relatively one-sided in favor of Los Angeles. While you might expect this Clippers team to have success while Marc Gasol is still out with injury for the Grizzlies, it was the way that the Clips were able to handily put away the Grizz (final score of 101-81) that was a bit surprising.
While Chris Paul was solid on the night with 15 points, eight assists and four rebounds, the Clippers’ frontcourt wasn’t especially productive with Gasol out. Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan combined for only 24 points and 23 rebounds on the night while Griffin shot only 5-15 from the field and Jordan took just six shots.
The biggest factor in the Clippers success on Thursday night, though, was the production of their bench. The quartet of Antawn Jamison, Darren Collison, Reggie Bullock and of course Jamal Crawford were fantastic offensively on the night, combining for 50 points off of the bench while shooting 18-33 from the field and a stunning 8-12 from long-range.
While the Clippers’ reserve frontcourt has been nothing to write home about this season, the offensive potency of their guards is a huge plus for them looking ahead, as is the occasional solid game from Jamison. Especially when J.J. Redick returns and Willie Green is back as a reserve, the Clippers’ bench guards and wings can come in and really pull away from opponents. Ultimately, that should play to L.A.’s benefit when they get into late-season play.