Every day and each game completely change the situation in the Western conference playoff picture, as the 94-86 win by the Los Angeles Clippers over the Memphis Grizzlies ties the two teams’ records and makes for a very interesting situation when it comes to the battle for the second place in the West.
There’s a very interesting battle for 8th as well between the Pelicans and the Thunder, which the Pelicans hold the lead to thanks to the tiebreaker, but we have four teams trying to finish second in the West. Because the Portland Trail Blazers are going to end up being division champions, they’ll be fourth, although it won’t help them get home court advantage, trailing the Clippers, Grizzlies Spurs and even the Rockets by three games (2.5 when it comes to Houston).
Despite the loss, which even things up for Memphis with the Clippers and San Antonio, they can be pleased by not falling apart despite the ankle injury sustained by Marc Gasol in the second quarter, lasting just 10 minutes in which he scored just two points. Kostas Koufos did a decent job in his place, which included getting testy with Blake Griffin, something that almost every player guarding or being guarded by the Clippers’ power forward can attest to.
But besides fighting with Koufos, it wasn’t a bad day for Griffin, scoring 18 points including a big jumper in the clutch to pull away. He did shoot just 6-of-21 from the field, but also grabbed 8 rebounds and added 6 assists, two of them as easy alley-oop set ups for DeAndre Jordan. Jordan finished with a 16-16 double double and even hit 4-of-5 from the line in a game he had plenty to be happy about.
Chris Paul was the engine behind it all, as usual, while J.J. Redick didn’t have the best of games, or at least somewhat subpar compared to his ability over the last month or so. Paul scored 15 points to go with his 14 assists while Redick did score 18 points but was just 2-of-7 from beyond the arc. All Clippers starters finished the game with at least a +10 in their plus/minus.
Zach Randolph led the scoring for the Grizzlies with 21 points, but the barometer for this team offensively has too often been Jeff Green, which is bad news for the Grizzlies, considering how inconsistent he is. Green scored 15 points but was just 5-of-16 from the field, and these kind of nights from him won’t get the Grizzlies very far in a postseason that’s almost impossible to predict out West.