It was NOT the officiating. There were tons of occasions on both sides of the ball where guys got completely mugged under the hoop throughout the game, and the clear path call was correct.
Now that we have that out of the way, let’s take a look at what went right and what went wrong with some choice audio provided by 3SOB’s Lee Smith.
Right: Gasol and Randolph showed up on the same night. They fought on the boards like madmen, and it showed-they outrebounded Griffin and Jordan 27-21. They did very well with blocking out and scrambling for caroms-but…..
Wrong: Clipper guards grabbed a few more rebounds than they should have, with the key one being the one on the Clips’ offensive end late by Bledsoe. The Clippers were not particularly afraid of the Grizzlies getting out and running, and were therefore strong on the offensive glass all night. Check out what rolls right off Mike Conley’s tongue after the game regarding the big plays of the night:
Right: Crawford was held to a paltry 2-7 from the field with four turnovers and only nine points total. It was almost surreal to watch a game against the Clippers and not have him be the major thorn in the side of the Grizzlies.
Just a bit of sound from Crawford post-game, and it’s worth noting that he, like Conley, makes mention of the even matching of these two teams.
Wrong: Hollins (Ryan, that is) and Odom combined for 5-6 from the field. Not entirely unrelated is the decidedly quick hook given to Ed Davis-two fouls in two minutes, grab a chair. Oooof. Davis’ performance was pretty symbolic of the bench problem in general for the game-the Clips’ bench outscored the Grizzlies’ 40-21, and the hustle play of Bledsoe and Barnes (although he doesn’t really count-he started the second half after Butler got banged up) far outshined the Grizzlies’ reserves, with Bayless confusing activity with achievement on a couple of occasions.
Right: Marc Gasol is just all-universe. One has to wonder if he vocalizes as much as he should when other guys make boneheaded plays, something he almost NEVER does.
Wrong: Conley dribbling around (boy, thought we’d put that phrase to bed forever) with Griffin on him and clanking a jumper when the Grizzlies REALLY needed a hoop late. Sure, the Clippers’ defense was well set-but he’s found seams against other well-set defenses recently.
Here is Coach Hollins’ presser from after the game-he doesn’t sound too thrilled with the outcome (it’s actually hard a lot of the time to tell from his cadence and tone whether the team won or lost), and who can blame him:
Starting the playoffs at FEF is now going to be a very fragile baby for the Grizzlies to deliver, and they’re going to need help from the likes of the Blazers and Kings. Can it be done? Should we worry whether it can?