Los Angeles Clippers at Memphis Grizzlies
Game 4, Clippers lead series 2-1
April 27, 2013
1:30 p.m. PST
So far, the series has gone chalk. Three games, three home-team victories. In the regular season, though, the Clippers won in Memphis and the Grizzlies managed to steal one in L.A. Is Game 4 where the home trend diverges? Now onto 3-on-3:
1. Was Chris Paul’s Game 3 an aberration or did the Grizzlies do something different that may persist for the rest of the series?
Jovan Buha, (@jovanbuha): They did something different. The Grizzlies big men didn’t show as high (or as late) on pick-and-rolls as they did in Games 1 and 2. The result? Four of Paul’s five turnovers came out of pick-and-rolls. The Grizzlies, Marc Gasol in particular, played it perfectly.
Seerat Sohi, (@DamianTrillard): Both Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph did a great job of keeping Paul out of the lane by playing the pick and roll flat and receiving help from a weak side wing when necessary. The Clippers could benefit from utilizing some screen-the-screener action before the pick-and-roll and putting Paul in more advantageous post up situations.
Michael Shagrin, (@mshaggy): I’ll go with aberration. The Grizz made some smart defensive adjustments to limit the Point God (shifting the off-wing towards the middle of the floor on PnR’s), but I have full faith in Chris Paul’s ability to diagnose the problem and implement a solution.
2. Zach Randolph went for 27 points and 11 rebounds in Game 3 after struggling for the first two games of the series. What adjustments (if any) do the Clippers need to make in Game 4?
Buha: I suggest putting DeAndre Jordan on Randolph down low, as anytime Z-Bo catches the ball with deep position against Griffin it’s a guaranteed bucket or foul. Jordan can use his length, at least. Griffin can’t guard Gasol in the post either, but since he mainly plays at the high post, his size advantage is somewhat negated. Also, help early and often. Prove the Grizzlies can actually shoot.
Sohi: The prevailing factors in Randolph’s Game 1 & 2 struggles were that he kept getting himself in foul trouble. After playing 24 and 30 minutes respectively in the first two games, Randolph played 37 minutes Thursday. Griffin and D.J. both did a respectable job against Randolph but you can’t really expect a player of his caliber to have three bad games in a row.
Shagrin: Randolph should regress to the mean after a slump in LA and a spectacular showing in Game 3, but his usual performance constitutes beasting on the offensive boards. If the Clippers bigs continue to give Z-Bo easy put-back opportunities, however, his numbers might look similar.
3. What’s your pick for Game 4? Clips or Griz?
Buha: The Clippers, but it’s going to be close. This game probably determines the series. If the Clippers win, the Grizzlies have virtually no chance at coming back from a 3-1 deficit. If the Grizzlies win, they’ll have all the momentum, and can claim they should be up 3-1 themselves (as Game 2 could’ve gone either way). Oh, the pressure.
Sohi: Grizzlies. This series is going down to the wire.
Shagrin: Grizzlies. The Clippers performance in Game 3 left a lot to be desired while Memphis returned to the roots of their grit n’ grind identity. If the Grizzlies can dictate the pace of the game again, they’ll have a distinct advantage.