By Cameron Buford, whatsgoodinsports.com

4/21/21 (29-27) Memphis Grizzlies vs (41-19) Los Angeles Clippers

Over the last 10 games, the Clippers have allowed their opponents to shoot 44.8% from the floor and averaged 107.4 points per game. However, they are shooting 50.6% from the floor and averaging 117.3% points per game. They have racked up 9 wins and 1 loss during the time frame while pulling down 44 rebounds, 26.4 assists, 6.7 steals, and 3.5 blocks per game.

They welcome the Memphis Grizzlies into Staples Center for their third match-up of the season. In their last ten games, the Grizzlies are 6-4, while allowing their opponents to shoot 47.1% and average 116.3 points per game. Meanwhile, they are 50.3% from the field and averaging 123 points per game. They are also pulling down 46.6 rebounds, 30.1 assists, 8.8 steals, and 4.9 blocks per game during this stretch of games.

The Clippers aim to keep its six-game home win streak alive when they square off against the Grizzlies for the third time this season. Although it would take a seemingly herculean effort from the Clippers as they would be playing without the services of the Kawhi Leonard (Foot), Paul George (Rest), Patrick Beverley (Hand), Serge Ibaka (Back), Reggie Jackson (Rest) and Rajon Rondo (Wrist); that’s 5 Championships and countless All-Star appearances they’d be without.

Starting the game for the Clippers would be Terance Mann, Luke Kennard, Amir Coffey, Marcus Morris Sr., Ivica Zubac. Marcus Morris Sr., lead the team with 10 points in the first quarter, supported by Ivica Zubac’s 8 points. Each of them recorded 1 rebound and 1 assist. The Grizzlies won that first stanza by 15 points leading to 39-24.

The Clippers start the second quarter with Yogie Ferrell, Luke Kennard, Nicolas Batum, Patrick Patterson, and DeMarcus Cousins. The Clippers end up winning that quarter 29-23 and go into the locker room only down by nine points.

After narrowing the lead to 4 points early in the 3rd quarter, the line-up that started the game was keeping the game competitive. Terance Mann gives them their first lead of the game 77-75, after hitting 2 free throws with 3:17 remaining

in the 3rd quarter. The Clippers were helped by not turning them over at all in the third quarter, this is the eighth time this season that the Clippers had 0 turnovers in a quarter. Then in the fourth quarter, Ty Lue went with Yogie Ferrell, Luke Kennard, Nicolas Batum, Marcus Morris Sr. and Ivica Zubac to close this game out.

Luke Kennard has tied his career-high in three-pointers made with six and finished with a season-high 28 points. Marcus Morris Sr.’s scored 25 points tonight, which happened to be the sixth-straight game with at least 15 points and his second-longest such streak in his career.

This is the Clippers’ seventh-straight win at STAPLES Center which is the longest home winning streak of the season. They also improve to 11-1 on the second game of a back-to-back and move to 18-5 since the All-Star break.

When asked post-game about their culture on the team in the locker room, Terance Mann said of Ty Lue, “he’s a big-time leader, he knows how to read his team, he knows how to read his guys, he was a player before, it’s nothing new to him. He gives us confidence, the vets take that on, takes it down to the young guys and the young guys are confident so this is a really confident team, everybody believes in each other, and it starts with T Lu.”

4/23/21 (42-19) Los Angeles Clippers vs (15-45) Houston Rockets

In a unique turn of events, longtime Houston Rockets CEO Tad Brown would announce that he would be resigning at the season’s end, “I am excited to see what the future holds for the franchise,” Brown said during this announcement. “Led by (Rockets owner) Tilman (Fertitta), Patrick (Fertitta) and the Fertitta family, the Rockets organization is in great hands for generations to come.”

The Clippers would be without key players, such as Patrick Beverley (Left Hand Fourth Metacarpal Fracture), Serge Ibaka (Lower Back Tightness), Kawhi Leonard (Right Foot Soreness), and newly acquired Rajon Rondo (Right Wrist Inflammation) in this matchup. They weren’t interested in sending him any goodbye gifts as Paul George dropped 20 on them in the first half giving the Clippers a modest 65-61 lead going into the locker room.

The Rockets would roar back in this game by allowing the Clippers to score only 11 points in the third quarter and had three players post a double-double by the end of the said quarter. Kelly Olynk had 13 points and ten rebounds, Christian Woods would rack up 17 points and 11 rebounds while John Wall would register 25 points and 11 assists through three quarters to give the Rockets an 80-76 lead going into the fourth quarter.

It would take a focused effort from the Clippers to regain the lead. Reggie Jackson stepped up to hit a couple of three-pointers to get them back on track early in the fourth quarter. Paul George would drop another 33 points and grab a season-high 14 rebounds to secure the win for the Clippers. In his post-game press conference, Paul George would say, “We can’t fold and start being complacent and start saying, ‘You know what; tonight’s not our night.” George continued to say, “You’ve got to continue to keep finding a way. Not every game’s going to be pretty. Give Houston credit for making it a challenging night.” Clippers Head Coach Ty Lue would say, “It doesn’t matter if it’s 200-199 or 49-48, we’ve just got to find a way to come out with a win,” Coach Ty Lue would also add, “We’ve got a lot of guys out. We knew it’d be a tough game for us. Guys could’ve easily given up, but they didn’t, and we found a way to win.”

4/26/21 (43-19) Los Angeles Clippers vs (41-19) New Orleans Pelicans

The Clippers went to New Orleans intent on avenging their March 14 loss and extending their win streak to 5 games. They have been in a rhythm by winning nine of their past ten games. However, they would be without the multiple players yet again. As Rajon Rondo is out with a sore wrist, Serge Ibaka is out with back tightness, Patrick Beverley has the same hand injury and Kawhi Leonard is out due to a sore foot.

In their last ten games, the Clippers went 9-1 while allowing their opponents to shot 45.3% and average 108.1 points per game. While shooting 49.2% themselves, and averaging 116.2 points per game. In this stretch, they have pulled down 44.2 rebounds, dished out 26.7 assists, and got 6.4 steals and 3.4 rejections per game.

The Pelicans have amassed a 4-6 record over the last ten games. During this stretch of the game, they have allowed their opponents to shoot 46.4% while averaging 115.1 points per game. All the while shooting 47.8% in the field and averaging 115 points per game. They have pulled down 49.7 rebounds, 25.7 helpers per game, and 7.6 takeaways per game along with 3.9 blocks during this stretch of games.

In their previous 13 games, the Clippers played games every other day, with 3 games on back-to-back nights. They had three days off in between playing the Houston Rockets and facing the New Orleans Pelicans on Monday night which appeared to impact their rhythm against the Pelicans.

After the Clippers jumped out to a quick 11-2 lead early in the game, the Pelicans responded with a 31-9 run to close out the first quarter. Once they took that lead the Pelicans weren’t really in danger of losing their lead as they scored 21 points off 19 Clippers turnovers in this game.

The Pelicans led by double digits for most of the second half, with their biggest lead being 25 points. Marcus Morris Sr. would hit a jumper to pull the Clippers within nine points. Yet Williamson responded soon after with a short turnaround hook and a three-pointer, Brandon Ingram added a 3 pointer and they pulled away again. After the game I was able to ask Clippers Head Coach Ty Lue, “I’m not sure, I got to take a look at it… I know we missed a lot of good shots, I know Marcus particularly, early on in the game missed shots he usually makes. That could’ve changed the game… but he didn’t make them. Not sure if it’s the rust or whatever, we had two days of good shooting. We didn’t play well, we didn’t shot well, and give them credit they did play well.”

When asked if the extra day messed up their rhythm Paul George would say post-game “I think we just didn’t bring it. We were flat tonight. I wouldn’t necessarily contribute it to the rest. We’ve been doing pretty well when we’ve had rest. I just think we were out of sync. And give them credit…they played a great game tonight, defensively and offensively.”

They have now lost 2 of 3 games to the Pelicans. I do not believe this is a sign of things to come as they still do not have their full complement of players readily

available. If we see this lackluster performance once they have a complete team or even just Kawhi… I’d be concerned.

Kindly share your thoughts on this team’s play down the stretch of this regular season. Where do you expect them to finish in the Western Conference? I look forward to hearing from you and feel free to reach out to me on Twitter @whatsgoodnsport or forward any suggestions on what additional topics or angles you’d like to see discussed to info@whatsgoodinsports.com.

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