Clippers hope to snap skid at Memphis
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The Los Angeles Clippers will seek to reverse course in what has been a roller-coaster season Friday night when they visit the Memphis Grizzlies.
The Clippers suffered their third consecutive defeat, 113-102 to the Boston Celtics on Wednesday night to complete a two-game homestand that began with a 126-118 loss to Minnesota.
The loss to Boston was not surprising. The Clippers are 6-17 after a loss in a season that already has featured nine- and four-game losing streaks, as well as two three- and two-gamers.
Meanwhile, the streaky club has gone 16-7 in the game immediately after a win.
The Clippers have faced the Grizzlies three times already this season.
Their 113-104 home loss in November triggered the nine-game losing streak; their 115-112 loss at Memphis in December was their only defeat in a stretch of seven games; and their 113-105 home victory earlier this month capped a four-game winning streak.
Other than the losing streak and the fact they've already lost two of three to the Grizzlies, the Clippers have an additional incentive in the opener of a two-game trip.
They did not have anyone selected to the All-Star team even though Clippers coach Doc Rivers thought high-scoring Lou Williams was deserving.
"I really thought numbers-wise it was a no-brainer," Rivers insisted. "He should have been on it."
Williams ranks 16th in the NBA in scoring this season at 23.2 points per game, and he has been even better in January, when his 28.4 average ranks third in the league behind All-Star starters Stephen Curry and Anthony Davis.
Williams got his brilliant month rolling with a 33-point effort in the Jan. 2 win over the Grizzlies.
One of the top scorers for Memphis in that loss was rookie Dillon Brooks, who, unlike Williams, will be headed to the All-Star Game festivities.
He was selected to the Rising Stars game next month, getting the distinction of being the lowest drafted (45th) of the 11 rookies selected to play.
"It feels amazing," the native of Canada said shortly after getting the good news earlier this week. "It feels good to be recognized with all the best rookies."
The Grizzlies got a boost from another of their young players in Wednesday's 108-85 home loss to the Spurs.
Ivan Rabb, who was drafted 10 picks ahead of Brooks in June, responded to his first career start with eight points and six rebounds in 17 minutes.
The 20-year-old had totaled just 22 points and nine rebounds in his first eight games in a season during which he has spent a majority of his time in the G-League.
The Grizzlies need a win Friday to avoid losing a third consecutive season series to the Clippers, who have eight wins in their last 12 meetings with Memphis.
The Grizzlies enter the game having alternated wins and losses in their last four games. They've split decisions -- beating Philadelphia before the San Antonio loss -- to tip off a four-game homestand that ends Monday against Phoenix.
The Clippers, meanwhile, have prevailed in four of their last six road games, a stretch that has included wins at Houston and Golden State.
Updated January 25, 2018