The Memphis Grizzlies Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph are better playoff basketball players than their Los Angeles Clippers counterparts DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin. I’m not talking statistically, or over the course of their careers, or anything like that either. I’m just saying I’d rather have both Gasol and/or Randolph if I had to win a playoff game tomorrow than I would Jordan and/or Griffin. It’s not close either, and it won’t be until Blake develops some sort of half-court game around the basket. Which he won’t by Wednesday.
Since the Kia pitchman doesn’t have that right now though, the Grizzlies absolutely need to slow this thing down turn it into a back-and-forth half-court series starting in Game Two on Wednesday. They only missed five of their sixteen three pointers as a team on Sunday night, but I don’t care. I do realize that Mike Conley looked like Mark Price in Game One also, but the Grizzlies aren’t winning this or any other series that way. They don’t need to. They’ll win by getting back to the grind time basketball that they’ve made their identity over the last two years, and they absolutely can still do that.
I know the Clippers came all the way back hitting monster shots in that fourth quarter to steal the Game One victory late, but Memphis lost that game much more than Los Angeles won it. Unless of course you want to tell me that Vinny Del Negro’s game plan was for Nick Young to hit three fourth quarter three pointers after lulling Memphis into state of complacency. Which it very well could’ve been I suppose, but even if it was, I can’t see it happening that way again.
I haven’t even mentioned that Caron Butler’s hand is broken and he’s done yet either. Mo Williams can step into that starting spot for Butler I’d imagine, unless they go Nick Young there, but that just weakens the Clippers bench. Rudy Gay may need to shoot less than 20 times for Memphis too, and Gasol needs more than 10 shots himself, but assuming they can balance all that out in Game Two I see the Grizzlies roaring back to win this series in six games. No pun in tended on that roar.
What may be more important than any X and O however, or shot chart distribution, or anything else, is if the Grizzlies can get their minds right for tomorrow night in time to win it. Asked this morning, OJ Mayo, Conley, and Gay all said they didn’t sleep on Sunday night, and didn’t sleep much last night according to reports either. The fact they did lose was shocking, but hopefully the two day lay-off helps them get over that, as opposed to making them stew in it.
With Game One on in the background on Sunday night at my house, as I banged away at my MacBook, my attention shifted away from the Clippers comeback late in that fourth quarter. It wasn’t until I glanced over and saw the score with about 1:27 left did I first realize what happened. I was shocked when I saw that collapse, but would be more shocked if the Grizzlies didn’t respond. It was just one game, and maybe they learned a valuable lesson in the process.
The way Memphis can and should win is the same way they won last season. Inside, up near the basket, with the collection of bigs they have that nobody in this League can match-up with.