The NBA season hasn’t started yet – it’s the pre-Halloween part of the calendar where teams are still finding out if their early results reflect who they really are, or if they are just disguised in a suit that hides their true shape.
This is the time of year for the long look when poor play can be described as one of 82.
But this season, the Clippers no longer have the luxury of knowing that their talent is superior to most Western Conference players, given that Kawhi Leonard is expected to miss a significant number of games, if not all, and center Serge Ibaka is not yet. check his back. in the game since June.
This is why every opportunity is precious in a tough playoff race, and why, while the Clippers’ identity is not yet known, it is certain that in two games they missed twice when presented with opportunities to turn their rallies into victories. defeats that could make the coach shake his head in April.
Two nights after the Clippers pulled out of a 19-point deficit to be eight points ahead in the fourth quarter and lost after a six-minute drought in San Francisco, the Clippers lost their first home game on Saturday at Staples Center. Memphis with a score of 120-114. when their 13-point first-half rally was controversial due to the second half that soured almost from the start.
Paul George averaged 10 of 41 points in the fourth quarter, only for the sixth time in his career with at least 40 points and 10 rebounds, but the Grizzlies won with a balance the Clippers failed to achieve and they are now 0. -2 for the first time since 2010.
Grizzlies defender Ja Morant scored 28 points, De’Anthony Melton 22, and Jaren Jackson Jr. returned to the city where he spent his offseason, recovering his rhythm after injuries stifled his youthful career progress, cold-blooded the game. shot with 16 seconds to play and Memphis is in the lead with two. His three-pointer on the flank was made possible by Morant’s attack, forcing several Clippers defenders to come close to the key.
There were times on Saturday when the Clippers looked like they were in good shape. Although their starting squad made eight of their first nine shots and George was noticeably more aggressive in his pursuit of his three-point shot and drives than he was against Golden State in the first quarter as a course correction towards the start of his season, it was the reserve squad. Isaiah Hartenstein, Luke Kennard, Terence Mann and Nicholas Batum, who were the engine of their first half.
The group, along with defender Reggie Jackson, finished the first quarter 10-0 and led 34-25 when the Clippers hit six of their first 12 three-pointers.
Hartenstein scored seven points after intercepting Batum’s shot over the Memphis zone in the second quarter and then executing a free kick. Then he had nine after Mann lost under the rim.
Hartenstein finished with 11 points in 16 minutes.