Memphis Grizzlies at (-6.0) Los Angeles Clippers
Staples Center, Los Angeles
April 22nd – 10:30 PM EST – TNT
Well, this came quick.
It’s pretty simple for the Clippers. The Memphis Grizzlies were stellar at home this season going 32-9 at the FedExForum. Losing home court advantage against this team isn’t something the Los Angeles needs to deal with at the time. Worst case scenario, they lose game 2 and the next two going down 3-1 heading back to LA for Game 4, so a sense of urgency should be ensued.
You know, if Eric Bledsoe goes 6-6 in the fourth quarter, they out-rebound the Grizz by 24 and let Caron Butler and Chauncey Billups combine for 27 points there will be no worries. All of these ideas sound much better in theory than in practice though. There is one thing this Clippers team can continue to do: run the pick-and roll.
According to Synergy Sports, the Grizzlies defended the pick and roll quite well over the course of the regular season allowing 47.3 percent shooting from the pick-and-roll ball-handler (2nd in league after Miami Heat). This is no surprise considering they have Marc Gasol and Darrell Arthur whom are both exceptional p’n’r defenders, but Friday night the Clippers guards (mainly Chris Paul) blitzed them throughout the entire game. Here is how they did in the pick-and-roll by the numbers:
- Number – 20
- 10 made field goals
- 14 attempted shots
- Fouled four times
- Two turnovers
If you’re counting that’s 71.4 percent from the field. More importantly, Chris Paul, who finished the night with 23 points, had majority of his points come out of the p’n’r: 6/7 for 14 points and 2 drawn fouls. Remember Chris’ hot start at the beginning of the third quarter? All 9 of those points came out of pick and rolls.
The front court has to show up tonight. Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan can’t bank on Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol being just meh. While Randolph’s (6/10) night was cut short, Marc Gasol (4/12) just flat out struggled from the field. The scoring from the big-man duo doesn’t have to be off-the-charts, but keeping the grit-and-grinders off the boards is most important. Blake’s gotta stay out of foul trouble also. As close
Making Mike Conley shoot seems like the easy way out, but of the five shots, three of them were open shots. When he’s out of sync this team struggles to get going. Odds don’t favor Mike in missing those same shots again. Instead Blake, DeAndre and Ryan Hollins have to make things harder for the lefty hooper and push his makes further out from the hoop.
The game will be much closer than Friday’s affair, but this team simply can’t handle Chris Paul (esp. if Hollins keeps Tony Allen on the bench for 16 minutes) at the end of games. 89-82 Clippers to get this series to 2-0 heading into the FedEx Forum.