Missing six key rotation players and down by as much as 18 on the second night of a back-to-back, the L.A. Clippers (42-19) stormed back on a 33-point turnaround to beat the Memphis Grizzlies 117-105. Among four Clipper starters in double-figures, Luke Kennard clocked in a season-high 28 points (10-16 FG), career-high-tying six threes (6-7 3PT) and seven rebounds. Marcus Morris Sr. added in 25 points, four triples, a steal and a block. Terance Mann was flat out terrific with 19 points (6-6 FT), six boards and seven assists. Ja Morant paced Memphis (29-28) with a team-high 22 points, six rebounds and four assists. Read on for our full Clippers vs. Grizzlies game recap.
As to be expected of a team starting a brand new lineup, the Clippers began very slow in the first quarter. Aside from Terance Mann showing once again that he can play, Morris Sr. willing in some shots to go, and some much-needed energy from Ivica Zubac above the rim, the Clips sorely lacked a cohesive direction on offense. Luke Kennard was incredibly passive, going 0-1 from the field in nine minutes. Yogi Ferrell made his debut, but was still working to get his feet wet in his freshly stitched uniform. Meanwhile, it was a nearly flawless opening frame for Memphis, who welcomed back Jaren Jackson Jr. for the first time this season. Ja Morant led all scorers with 12, including two buckets from deep, as Memphis knocked down 6 of 9 threes on 70% shooting from the field. A team adept at causing turnovers and scoring at the rim, the Grizzlies got out to 10 fast break points. After one, Memphis led the Clippers 39-24.
Opening the second quarter with a lob layup, a catch-and-shoot three and a drawn charge, DeMarcus Cousins was a positive contributor once again before taking an elbow to the face. After being escorted back to the locker room, Boogie fortunately returned to the bench available to play with a lip laceration. The Grizzlies continued their hot scoring ways, sitting comfortably up double-digits for most of the period. Digging in with their active defense predicated on scrambling and getting deflections, the Grizzlies sped up the Clipper offense on several possessions to force nine L.A. turnovers in the first half. Playing the entire period to help the Clippers weather the storm, however, Kennard’s ATM-esque shooting stroke came alive to lead the team with 12 points (5-7 FG, 2-2 3PT) in the frame. With Zubac continuing to make his presence felt in the paint and battling on every board, the Clippers whittled the Grizzlies’ lead down to 62-53 at the half.
A Morris Sr. three to cut it to six set the tone for the rest of the game as the shorthanded Clippers continued to outplay expectations. The Clippers’ trio of 24-year-olds in Mann, Zubac and Kennard led the way with some great two-way efforts to use the Grizzlies’ own aggression against them. Kennard got a strip on JJJ to setup a T-Mann dunk on the other end. Kennard drew out a Kyle Anderson technical by sealing off Xavier Tillman on a loose ball. Yogi Ferrell, the shortest guy on the court, cookied Brandon Clarke off of a rebound to set up Mann for a statement quarter-ending jam. Frustrating the young Memphis squad to 7-for-22 shooting from the floor (31.8%) without giving up a single turnover the entire quarter, the Clippers came back to take an 87-82 advantage heading into the fourth.
After playing the entire third, Mann finally got a breather for most of the final frame as head coach Tyronn Lue threw on his lab coat and experimented with his lineups once again. Boogie struggled to get a bucket early on, but hauled in his 10th board and drew his third charge of the game, this time on Morant, before checking out for Zu. Aside from an Anderson pull-up two and a Morant layup, the fourth was all Clippers with Ferrell accounting for 19 of L.A.’s 30 points in the period. Knocking down a pair of jumpers, getting to the line and setting up each of Patrick Patterson, Kennard and Morris Sr. from three, Ferrell earned Lue’s trust and closed the rest of the way as the Clippers extended their home winning streak to seven straight and improved to 11-1 in the second game of back-to-backs.
Clippers vs. Grizzlies Game Notes
- Look at Terance Mann, So Inspirational: In the running among Reggie Jackson and Nicolas Batum for the most unexpected season by a Clipper this year, Mann put out yet another quality performance that backs up why Jerry West was so high on him early on in his career. Making some incredible passes, playing great point-of-attack defense, fighting above his weight class on the glass and showing off a much-improved jumper, Mann has surely earned himself minutes in the rotation come playoff time.
- The Duality of Boogie Cousins: In another 14 minutes, Cousins has likely convinced most of Clipper Nation that he deserves a contract for the rest of the year. Cousins remains to be a toss up from possession-to-possession. His athleticism and rim protection abilities are long gone. However, the gravity and respect he commands on the court continue to bother opposing defenses. His rebounding has been good, his passing has fit right in with this year’s system and the heart he’s shown with the three charges he drew tonight deserve an applause.
- Yogi’s Storybook Debut: In his second day with the squad, Ferrell was a team-high +15 in plus-minus, with eight points, seven assists, a steal and zero turnovers. With the Clippers needing some guard depth, Ferrell certainly is on the road to earning himself more than 10 days with his play tonight.
- Up Next: The Clippers will kick off their three-game road trip against the Houston Rockets at the Toyota Center on Friday, April 23 at 5 p.m. PT.
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