NBA Russell Westbrook hits season-high 36 points in Clippers vs. Grizzlies
Memphis, Tennessee –
Russell Westbrook scored a season-high 36 points and Robert Covington also scored a season-high 27 points as the Los Angeles Clippers beat the Memphis Grizzlies 141-132 to start a two-game set Wednesday night. .
The teams, both briefly on Wednesday, will meet again in Memphis on Friday night.
Westbrook made five 3-pointers without a mistake and had 10 assists. Covington was nine of his ten off the field and made all seven of his three-point attempts.
Bones Hyland added 20 points for Los Angeles, including 12 in the fourth quarter as the Clippers pulled away in the final seven minutes.
“It’s just calmer,” Westbrook said of the difference in the closing stages. “As point guards, we were taught that the last five or six minutes of the game are very important. Stop and take a good shot. We did a good job of running to the end.”
Ja Morant led the Grizzlies with 36 points and nine assists. Dillon Brooks added 30 points as all five Memphis starters finished in his double figures. The Grizzlies have won seven straight at home and 12 straight.
The Clippers were already without Paul George, who has recovered from a right knee sprain, while Kawhi Leonard was late for personal reasons.
The Grizzlies sat out many of their key players for the second night of back-to-back games. Morant returned after missing Tuesday night’s game against Orlando, while Jaren Jackson Jr., Desmond Bain, Tyus Jones and reserve John Concher were ruled out with various illnesses.
The game intensified, with the teams entering a scrum near midcourt in the third quarter, with Brooks and Covington barking at each other. During games, coaches yelled at officials, players quarreled with each other, and physical play irritated everyone.
The 3-point line was an advantage for the Clippers. Los Angeles made 22 of their 37 3-pointers with Covington and Westbook making every attempt.
“I think it’s the first time in my career that I’ve done it perfectly from the 3-point line,” said Covington, who is in his 10th season.
He shot just under 60% outside the arc, well above the Los Angeles average of 38%.
“Obviously, they shot a lot,” said Memphis forward Santi Aldama, who scored 17 points on 6-of-7 from the field, adding: They got so many free looks.
The win moved the Clippers to fifth in the Western Conference, one game ahead of an idle Golden State. But each game is important, like a jumble in the middle of a meeting.
“It’s going to be tight,” Covington said of playoff qualification. “A West from 4 to 12 or 13 is like a three-game gap? So anything can happen. That’s why the last five or six games are very important for us.”
Clippers: In addition to George and Leonard, Marcus Morris Sr. attended the second game under health and safety protocol. … Terance Mann started in his Leonard spot. … G Norman Powell has returned after missing his 11 games with a subluxation of his left shoulder. He scored 13 points.
Grizzlies: C Steven Adams has missed his 30th game with a PCL sprain in his right knee. … Former Clipper Luke Kennard, acquired on a trade deadline deal, started his 12th game of the season, but it was his first in a Memphis uniform. He finished with 12 points. …Memphis’ last home loss was his February 5 game against Toronto.