Struggling through their worst skid of the season, the Grizzlies look to gain some confidence on defense when they host the Clippers on Friday night in a matchup of two of the league’s worst teams.
Memphis (4-14) started off well on defense, holding each of its first four opponents under 100 points. The Grizzlies’ inability to stop opposing offenses is largely to blame for their struggles since, giving up 104.9 points per game while losing 12 of 14.
In its last four games, Memphis has allowed 110.5 points a contest. The Grizzlies, seeking their first win since beating Sacramento on Nov. 18, will now face one of the worst offenses in the NBA.
Los Angeles (3-15) is shooting 43.0 percent from the field and averaging 92.6 points per game. The Clippers have been hurt by poor bench play, getting 20.0 points a contest from their reserves.
In a 103-96 loss to Houston on Wednesday night, the Clippers got a combined 15 points from their bench. It was the sixth loss in seven road games for Los Angeles, which is off to its worst start since opening the 1998-99 season with 17 straight defeats.
“We are continuing to make strides and we need to get momentum and get strong,” Clippers guard Baron Davis said. “We are short-handed but we have enough to win.”
Marcus Camby, averaging 10.1 points and 10.5 rebounds per game, has played well in Kaman’s absence. He had 11 points, 11 rebounds and six blocks against the Rockets while fellow big men Al Thornton and Zach Randolph combined for 47 points and 20 rebounds.
Thornton is Los Angeles’ top scorer, averaging 17.4 points per game after posting 12.7 as a rookie last season. He had a career-high 39 points in a 110-97 victory over Memphis on March 29 as the Clippers won last season’s series 3-1.
The Grizzlies gave up 107.0 points a contest against the Clippers in 2007-08.
Memphis is coming off yet another poor effort on defense, losing 105-95 to Atlanta on Wednesday night.
Rudy Gay finished with 16 points for the Grizzlies, but no other starter had more than 11. Memphis, however, got a strong game from its bench, which combined to score 43 points, including 20 from Hakim Warrick.
“With that lineup we run, we score and we get easy buckets,” Gay said.
O.J. Mayo, the third overall pick in this year’s draft, had 11 points, nearly 16 under his average over the previous five games. That performance, though, was enough to make him the third rookie to begin his career with 18 straight games in double figures.