Clippers Losses Just Seem To Get Uglier And Uglier

Coming into tonight’s contest, the Clippers and Grizzlies were tied for the lead in one NBA category — most double-digit losses this season

Congratulations Clippers, you now own that dubious category outright.

A big run starting late in the third quarter sparked Memphis to a 118-95 win. And that gave the Clippers double-digit loss number 30, including 15 of their last 16 losses.

As always the Clippers were shorthanded — no Zach Randolph, Eric Gordon or Ricky Davis to name a few — but tonight things got worse. Near the end of the first quarter Marcus Camby left the game with a migraine and did not return.

Despite all that, the Clippers stayed close through the first half, in part because (especially with Camby) they forced the Grizzlies to shoot a lot of jump shots. The Grizzlies got better at attacking the rim but the Clippers led thanks to scoring from Al Thornton, who finished with 25.

The Clippers were up by five with just less than five minutes left in the third quarter. Normally that is when teams on the second night of a back-to-back start to fade and the home team pulls away and cruises to the victory.

Not tonight. Tired or not the Grizzlies closed out the quarter on an 18 -2 run that became a 23-3 run by a couple minutes into the fourth quarter. Over the last 16 minutes of the game, the Grizzlies outscored the Clippers 51-23. And it looked uglier than it sounds.

Rudy Gay fueled much of that run as the Clippers had no answer for his athleticism. He had 10 points during the 23-2 run, and scored 20 of his 35 points on the night in the decisive third quarter.

Without Camby, or Chris Kaman who remains out (but is due back in less than a week), the Clippers had nobody who could body up Marc Gasol, who finished with 20 points and 10 assists. Former USC star OJ Mayo added 18.

The one bright spot the last two games for the Clippers has been the play of Mike Taylor off the bench. The rookie point guard out of Iowa State has been playing at a pace and with an energy not matched by any of his teammates. He had Wednesday’s biggest highlight for the Clips — a second-quarter dunk that had the building buzzing — and he finished with 15 points. Early in the season Taylor made a lot of questionable decisions, including when the dunk, but of late he has seemed to figure out when to attack and how to better use his impressive speed. And he has shown he can dunk with authority.

The Clippers and their fans deserve a bit of a silver lining, because the way the team is playing now there are more double-digit losses to come.

Kurt Helin only gets migraines when forced to watch bad basketball. He blogs about these things at Forum Blue & Gold.

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