April 22, 2021

DCTRS

Damascus Center for Theoretical and Civil Rights Studies

Kawhi Leonard, Clippers beat Grizzlies to get back on track

Clippers coach Tyronn Lue can deal with a loss, just so long as his team prepares well and plays with purpose.

When his team did neither Thursday in a 28-point loss at Memphis, it ate at Lue, who said he was frustrated until he arrived at FedEx Forum on Friday.

The team’s middling defensive rankings, he said before tipoff, showed “that we’re not very good.”

“We have the guys to do it, we have the schemes to do it,” Lue said. “We’re doing the same defense everybody else in the league is doing, it’s just they’re doing it better. We’ve got to be better.”

The difference a day later was stark. After giving up an “embarrassing” 72 points in the paint Thursday, the Clippers gave up 54 in Friday’s 119-99 victory.

After watching Memphis make 57% of its three-pointers in the first game, the Clippers contributed to the Grizzlies’ 32% accuracy the next night.

The difference wasn’t only on the defensive end. Kawhi Leonard scored a game-high 30 points while making all 11 of his free throws and three of five three-pointers, with nine rebounds and seven assists. The Clippers dished a season-high 34 assists and pulled away on a late 12-3 run to end the fourth quarter as Memphis refused to wilt.

Highlights from the Clippers’ 119-99 win over the Memphis Grizzlies on Friday.

Paul George scored 13 points and had eight assists, though he made just one of five three-point attempts.

Jonas Valanciunas led the Grizzlies with 22 points and Ja Morant contributed 20, but their supporting cast couldn’t provide the kind of help that contributed to their thorough defeat of the Clippers the previous night.

The Clippers are now 6-0 on the second night of back-to-back games this season.