Los Angeles Clippers vs. Memphis Grizzlies
Game 2, Clippers lead series 1-0
April 22, 2013
7:30 p.m. PST
Game 1 went well for the Clippers in LA. Some might say too well…(cue foreboding music). Eric Bledsoe had one of his best games of the season, Chris Paul was Chris Paul, and Blake Griffin and Zach Randolph decided that MMA is a much more appropriate sport for the two of them. Game 2 tonight could be more of the same – at least for Z-Bo and Blake. Now onto 3-on-3:
1. Did we learn anything about this series in Game 1?
Ian Levy, Hickory High, (@HickoryHigh): I think the huge margin of victory for the Clippers actually disguises how close these two teams are in talent, and how competitive the rest of the series will be. What we did learn is that both teams have a very small margin for error, and if either side doesn’t attend to the little things, the potential is there for it to get lopsided quickly.
Jacob Frankel, (@jacob_frankel): I don’t think we saw anything we didn’t already know in Game 1. This series will be close, physical, and highly entertaining. The Clippers matchup well against the Grizzlies, which was evidenced to a further degree Saturday night.
Patrick James, (@patrickmjames): For starters, we learned that Chris Paul looks healthy, certainly healthier than last year. He was aggressive and effective Saturday, and if he can keep scoring anywhere near this rate (23 points on 11 shots), the Clippers will be tough to beat. We also learned that the Clippers are capable of out-rebounding the Grizzlies (47-23 in game one).
2. DeAndre Jordan played 31 minutes, some in the fourth quarter, in the first game. Is Memphis a good matchup for him?
Levy: Obviously, it’s easier to play Jordan when the game isn’t close and free throw shooting isn’t a concern, but this is probably as useful a setting as there is for Jordan. Defensively, his size and athleticism allow him to matchup in the post and cover ground to stop penetration. Offensively, his mobility and the lurking potential of a backdoor lob make Gasol’s defensive responsibilities a lot more complicated.
Frankel: He’s not a good matchup, but Lamar Odom isn’t any better (who secretly has been horrid this season). At least Jordan has an athleticism advantage over Marc Gasol. The one point of worry would be whether or not Gasol will pull Jordan too far away from the basket with his facilitating from the elbow.
James: Jordan struggles against centers who knock down mid-range shots, but give D.J. some credit for Gasol’s rough shooting (4-12). The way Memphis clogs the lane on defense limits Jordan’s scoring, but if he can keep their bigs off the glass that’s a win right there. Gasol and Randolph combined for only 6 boards. D.J. had 8.
3. Why is Eric Bledsoe so good against the Grizzlies?
Levy: Jerryd Bayless. Bledsoe has an advantage against the second-unit backcourt of almost any team in the league, but for some reason playing against Bayless is like jetfuel, turning his spark into a raging inferno. Including Game 1, Bledsoe is now 14-23 from the field, averaging 24.9 points, 9.7 rebounds and 4.8 assists per 36 minutes when matched up against Bayless this season.
Frankel: This might be where the favorable matchup thing comes in. The Grizzlies, like the Clippers, run quite a bit of two point guard lineups and Bledsoe can run circles around both Mike Conley and Jerryd Bayless. This could also just me a matter of small sample size.
James: He thrives off confidence, which Vinny Del Negro showed him by playing him the entire fourth quarter (no other Clipper played all 12 minutes). Although he didn’t log a steal, he surely frustrated Conley and Bayless, the latter a less than stellar ball-handler. Plus he’s so much faster than the cerebral Paul that maybe Memphis didn’t see him coming.