It wasn’t exactly the Clippers’ best offensive game of the season. In fact, the 40 points scored in the first half was their fewest in any half this season. But Thursday was a night when the Clippers wanted to shore up a defense that was dreadful against the Atlanta Hawks.
Not only did the win snap the Clippers’ two-game losing streak, but also their five-game losing streak against Memphis dating back to last season’s playoffs.
How it happened: The Clippers were trailing for much of the first half and the beginning of the third quarter before they took control of the game midway through the third quarter when Blake Griffin tied the game on a dunk and Chris Paul put the Clippers ahead for good. The Clippers would go up by as many as 20 points and allowed Paul and Griffin to sit the fourth quarter.
What it means: After losing back-to-back games, the Clippers escaped losing three straight for the first time under Doc Rivers and also split the first two games on their seven-game road trip. Their past five games are against teams below .500 in the East.
Hits: DeAndre Jordan had 10 points, 14 rebounds and three blocked shots. He was the captain of the Clippers’ defense and was constantly talking to his teammates, something that was missing in Atlanta.
Chris Paul had 15 points and eight assists, while Darren Collison and Jamal Crawford came off the bench and scored 15 points apiece for the Clippers.
Misses: Not a whole lot went wrong for the Clippers on Thursday, but Willie Green continues to struggle as the starting shooting guard. Against Memphis, he had five points, went 3-for-8 from the field and missed his only 3-point attempt.
Stat of the game: The Clippers are not known as a great free-throw shooting team, but they shot them well on Thursday. In fact, Griffin has shot them well recently, hitting 12 straight, including going 4-for-4 on Thursday. The Clippers made 77.8 percent of their free throws. Even Jordan hit two of his four attempts.
Up next: The Clippers have a day off after their road back-to-back before traveling to play the Cleveland Cavaliers on Saturday. It’s the first matchup of the season between these two teams and between Paul and Kyrie Irving this season. The Cavaliers, who are 6-12, have won two back-to-back games over Chicago and Denver and play at Atlanta on Friday.