Rapid Reaction: Grizzlies 102, Clippers 96
February, 21, 2014
By Arash Markazi | ESPNLosAngeles.com
MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Every city the Los Angeles Clippers go to, it seems Doc Rivers is having a reunion of some sort with a player or coach with whom he used to work.
On Thursday, as the Memphis Grizzlies beat the Clippers 102-96, Rivers was able to see the return of one his favorite players, Tony Allen, after Allen missed the previous 21 games because of a hand injury.
"He's one of my favorites because he was my first pick," Rivers said. "Tony knows this. When Danny [Ainge] was sitting in my living room, talking about taking the Celtics job, and one of the questions I asked him was what pick we had, and he told me and said, 'Will Tony Allen be around?' This is before I took the Celtics job, and then I take it and we get him. He's a Chicago kid, so there are a lot of connections with him."
With the Clippers losing two straight games after the All-Star break and playing with three fewer players than they had last week before the trade deadline, Rivers will no doubt be looking for a player who can help him win a title the way Allen did six years ago.
How it happened: After going back and forth through the first three quarters, the Grizzlies took control in the fourth quarter. They went up by as many as 12 points before finally closing out the Clippers as they never gave up the lead in the final period.
What it means: It has not been a great stretch for the Clippers since the All-Star break. After losing to the San Antonio Spurs at home Tuesday, the Clippers went on the road and lost to the Grizzlies on Thursday. These are two teams the Clippers might see in the playoffs, and if the postseason started now, the Clippers would open on the road. Not exactly the position in which they want to be.
Hits: Blake Griffin had 28 points and 13 assists, while Jamal Crawford had 23 points and six rebounds. Chris Paul also had 18 points and 13 assists, while DeAndre Jordan had five points and 12 rebounds.
Misses: The Clippers' second unit has been nonexistent with Crawford forced into a starting role and Matt Barnes replacing a struggling Jared Dudley in the starting lineup. The Clippers' reserves on Thursday combined for only seven points and three rebounds.
Stat of the game: While the Clippers enjoyed a 43-15 free throw disparity, they didn't really take advantage of it, making 27 overall and only 13 of their first 27 attempts.
Up next: The Clippers continue on their three-game trip in Oklahoma City on Sunday. The Clippers and Thunder have split the first two games of the season, with the home team winning each. The last time the two teams played, the Thunder beat the Clippers 105-91 in Oklahoma City.