The upstart Memphis Grizzlies and their star Ja Morant will be coming to LA to play the first of a back-to-back set against the Clippers and Lakers. Can they sneak a win against the Clippers?
Watch this game live on October 24, at 10:30 AM, Manila time.
Away: Memphis Grizzlies (1-0, 0-0 Away)
Projected Starting Five:
- PG: Ja Morant
- SG: De’Anthony Melton
- SF: Desmond Bane
- PF: Jaren Jackson Jr.
- C: Steven Adams
The Memphis Grizzlies started their season with a bang, winning a 132-121 contest against the Cleveland Cavaliers at home. Ja Morant went loco from the field, shooting 17 of 29 on his way to 37 points, 6 rebounds, 6 assists and 2 blocks with only 2 turnovers. That’s a hell of a way to start the regular season, especially since expectations are much fire for him after he set the league ablaze while leading the Grizzlies past the Spurs and Warriors in the play-in tournament last campaign.
Desmond Bane also chipped in a solid 22 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals while De’Anthony Melton Had 20 points, 4 rebounds and 3 assists. Jaren Jackson Jr. was a defensive pest as he finished with 13 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists and 4 blocks while Steven Adams did Steven Adams things and had 8 points, 14 rebounds and 3 assists along with a steal and a block.
Let’s be real, though. The Cavaliers are a far cry from the formidable Clippers, whose never give up attitude was on full display as they pushed the Golden State Warriors to the limit after starting off with a horrible 44-27 first quarter. The Grizzlies don’t have the luxury of having a shooter like Steph Curry, so they’re going to have to work harder for their points especially in a hostile arena.
But, as they showed during their run to the playoffs, the Grizzlies are a young and confident team. They’re not going to have any fear, but whether or not that translates into a victory is a whole ‘nother story.
Home: LA Clippers (0-1, 0-0 Home)
Projected Starting Five:
- PG: Reggie Jackson
- SG: Eric Bledsoe
- SF: Paul George
- PF: Marcus Morris Sr.
- C: Ivica Zubac
Even just based on their opener, Paul George is probably a dark-horse candidate for MVP this season. Without Kawhi Leonard available, George will be pushed to the limit because he’s going to need to consistently put up 29 point, 11 rebound and 6 assist performances like he did against the Warriors. It’s unclear who the Grizzlies are going to be able to throw at him, as George is going to be a nightmare matchup for the Grizzlies.
Eric Bledsoe, who’s been getting a lot of flak for his past few seasons, had a strong opening game, too. His 22 points on 10 of 16 shooting was a big boost to the Clippers, and he might find himself getting a lot of open shots thanks to the double teams that George will inevitably face. Reggie Jackson will be another beneficiary of the attention that George receives, and I think he’ll bounce back from his tough 4 of 19 performance from the field against Golden State. He still had 11 points, 5 rebounds and 6 assists for the game, and he clearly has no fear of taking shots.
Marcus Morris’ floor spacing will be a key factor for the Clippers, too as he hit a couple of big shots.
A key matchup to watch this game will be between Ivica Zubac and Steven Adams. Zubac had a decent game, scoring 14 points in 17 minutes of action against the Warriors, and his low minutes had a lot to do with the Warriors playing small. Adams played 32 minutes in their season opener, and the Kiwi is one of the strongest players to ever get on an NBA court. Adams is a walking rebound, and Zubac will have his work cut out for him in the rebounding department. He’s got to make sure that the Grizzlies don’t get too many second chance opportunities thanks to Adams’ rebounding.
Terance Mann could also be a problem for the Grizzlies, as he’s got the ability to go off for big scoring nights if they don’t pay enough attention to him. He had 11 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists and a steal in the opener, but he did play 39 minutes, showing that coach Tyronn Lue sees value in him being on the court.
Spread: The Clippers will be playing at home and trying to erase their defeat to the Warriors against a less-experienced team. I like them at -3.
Over/Under: The Grizzlies will try to push the pace, especially when Ja Morant is on the floor. The Clippers are no slouches in that department either and I like the Over 224.5.