Home games bring out the best in most NBA teams, and the Memphis Grizzlies are no different, especially when it comes to their big man duo, Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol, who have turned the series around by regaining dominance in the paint on both ends the floor, making it an even series once again, hoping that they take this kind of intensity and defensive success back to the road.
All the compliments we had for the Los Angeles Clippers evaporated in Memphis, as Chris Paul and Blake Griffin each score 19 points, but didn’t get any help whatsoever from the rest of the team, on their way to a 104-83 loss which means 2-2 in the series. The rest of the Clippers shot only 34.6% from the field and were killed on the glass, losing the rebounding battle 45-28.
For the Grizzlies, it was simply the kind of basketball that worked so well for them all through the season. Excellent job from Gasol in keeping players and hands away from the rim, while his vision and outside shooting abilites opened up the Clippers defense, allowing Zach Randolph to get to work, just like he did in Game 3.
The two lead the Grizzlies with 24 points each, combining for 22 rebounds and 4 blocks. Making Randolph the focal point of their offense has paid off, as he got 65 touches over the last couple of games, translating into 51 points. He shot 11-17 from the field in the game 4 win, scoring all of his field goals in the paint, with Blake Griffin not getting any help and not getting too much of a chance to stop a stronger player.
The offensive rebounding and second chance points have been big as well for the team, grabbing 13 of them and scoring 22 points through that compared to only 2 by the Clippers, who grabbed only 5 offensive rebounds. The Clippers kept shooting from far away, and after initial success with attempts from 15 feet and beyond, they ended up shooting 25.9% from that distance through the final three quarters, which included a complete collapse (33-16) in the fourth quarter.
For the Grizzlies, it wasn’t just the biggest playoff win in the franchise’s history thanks to Gasol and Randolph. Everything clicked. Tayshaun Prince scored 15 points and Mike Conley continued his fantastic series (15.3 points, 9.3 assists), showing everyone he’s much more than a defensive stopper, making life quite hard for Chris Paul again and again, putting up 15 points and 13 assists.
The keys for the Grizzlies they need to insist on happening? When Marc Gasol gets a triple double, they were 15-3 during the regular season. When they shoot over 50% from the field (50.6% in the win), they’re now 17-1. Keeping the games physical and directed towards the paint while not allowing the Clippers to run is the key, with LA offering a different style of basketball more often than not.
Unless the Clippers are going to find an answer to Randolph getting the ball on the block and driving Blake Griffin under the basket, it’s going to look like another grind in which not even some Chris Paul wonders will be enough to save them.