The big storylines coming out of Memphis are whether the Grizzlies will respond to their epic 4th quarter collapse, and whether the Clippers can maintain focus and intensity for all 4 quarters or if their lack of focus will bury them in game 2.
One thing is certain; this game is a must-win for the Grizzlies. If they drop 2 straight games at home and give the Clippers a chance to close them out at home, don’t be surprised if this is a very short series.
The Clippers on the other hand, can still win this series if they lose tonight, but the more important thing for them is seeing if they can keep their composure through the first 3 quarters.
The big challenge for the Clippers in this game will be containing Marc Gasol, who torched them through 3 quarters in game 1, and then the Grizzlies inexplicably went away from their gameplan of working through Gasol at the elbow and started settling for jumpers.
“We’ve got to win the game,” Hollins said. “We’ve got to go out and play well in the first, second and third quarter and like I said, if we’re up 27, 21 points in the fourth quarter, I’ll take that. And then we’ve just got to be better and finish it. But it’s going to be a tough ballgame. We just have to go out and play well to win it.”
Charles Barkley recently called Marc Gasol “one of the best passing big men in the game”, and it is hard to argue with him after the display Gasol put on hitting cutters through the first 3 quarters. Passing seems to run in the family, as Pau Gasol had some incredible passes in the Lakers’ home victory against the Nuggets last night.
For the Clippers, it will simply be a relief to not be playing from 27 down at the start of the game.
“We don’t have to play from 24, 27 down,” Paul said.
It should be an excellent battle tonight, and I anticipate this being one of the most competitive and up-and-down series in the first round. Let the games begin.