There are only two teams in the Western Conference who have worse records than the Grizzlies at this point in the season. One of them is Oklahoma City, which beat the Grizzlies last Saturday. The other is the Los Angeles Clippers, the perennial Pacific Division doormat, who come to town tonight. If the Grizzlies have any chance of putting an end to their misery, this is it.
The Clippers' record of 2-8 in their last 10 games is only one game better than the Grizzlies' 1-9. The Clippers are also one of only three teams that have a losing record all-time against the Grizzlies at 25-26. The Grizzlies should have a chance to fix their defensive problems against the Clippers, who have one of the league's worst offenses. The Clippers are averaging only 92.6 points per game, well below the Grizzlies' average allowance of 104.9. The Grizzlies have allowed over 110 points per game in their last four contests.
The Clippers shoot 43 percent as a team and get only 20 points per game from their bench.
The Grizzlies need to push the tempo and be aggressive to the basket to create easy scoring opportunities for themselves and get the Clippers into foul trouble. The Clippers are missing starting center Chris Kaman, so the Grizzlies need to get the ball inside to Marc Gasol as much as possible.
O.J. Mayo has scored in double figures through his first 18 games, netting 11 against Atlanta on Wednesday. He will once again be expected to carry the Grizzlies' offense.
The Memphis bench came up big against the Hawks with 43 points, including 20 from Hakim Warrick. Another performance like that should put the Grizzlies in good position for a win tonight. One spark that could make that happen is the return of Quinton Ross, who missed the last two games with plantar fasciitis. Ross is one of the team's top defenders, especially on the perimeter, which has been the Grizzlies' Achilles' heel. He is also among the few veterans on this team who can get his teammates through a rough spot in a game.
The Clippers have a few big bodies to contend with in Marcus Camby, Al Thornton and Zach Randolph. Thornton is the team's leading scorer at 17.4 points per game.