More of the “same old same old”, wasn’t it? Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol tear up the place (in a nice gentlemanly way), Chris Paul incites the WORST FOUL CALL IN NBA HISTORY, etc., etc.
Let’s get right to it…
Thing one: Sure, this has been mentioned alllll over the NBA world (or maybe it hasn’t, maybe I just think it has). Could del Negro’s lack of double-teaming Gasol and Zbo in the post be one of his last acts as Clippers coach? Who cares, as long as he keeps letting one man at a time try to guard these two guys who both demand double-teams. No, the Clippers’ defense was not completely devoid of the doubleup-a glorious busting of the double team down low by Marc Gasol most memorable among the occasions-but it didn’t happen much.
Thing two: the free throws keep on comin. The Grizzlies again outdid the Clips from the line, this time by 8 on attempts and by 7 on makes. It’s a bit disquieting that Conley and Gasol were responsible for such a large percentage of the FT’s (12 and 9 respectively), but it’s even stranger that the Grizzlies actually committed a couple more fouls overall. Grizzlies makin’ ’em count.
Thing three: Poise. On the occasion of the worst (and most late) call in NBA history, Coach Hollins freaked out a lot worse than did any Grizzly player. The Grizzlies know that Blake Griffin and Chris Paul will get the benefit of the doubt on many if not most calls, and were unfazed.
Thing four: It sorta feels like the Geico “how happy” commercials..how happy is he? Happier than Zach Randolph that he doesn’t have to share playoff touches with Rudy Gay. How happy? Happier than Zach Randolph that his name was on the deed of that fourth quarter last night. Scored double digits, but oddly didn’t go to the line once in that quarter. Weird, but so what. 25 and 11. Wow.
Thing five: Bench, you once again slay me. 6-18 from the floor and only sixteen total points on those eighteen shot attempts. Yes, Pondexter has moved quite nicely into the three-guard setup with Conley/Dooling and Bayless, but even when sharing the floor with high-usage guys, he’s gotta do better on O than 0-3 in almost 25 minutes. He’s taking “defensive specialist” to another level. Bayless hit a three and looked slightly more comfortable, but to earn those minutes he’s not happy about not getting, he’s gotta just torch it when he comes in.
Thing six: Paul, Bledsoe, Crawford, and Barnes all played the entire fourth for LAC. Conley, Allen, Pondexter, and Prince all played at least ten minutes. The Grizzlies were successful with smallball against what can be a deadly smallball team ‘cuz they had the big boy on the block in for over eight minutes of that same quarter. Had Gasol not been in foul trouble, would the Grizzlies have run away with it? Actually doubtful. With so many capable three-bombers on the floor, quick perimeter guys were a necessity.
Thing seven: Sure, Chris, go ahead and score 35. Only 4 assists and five fouls (one of which was a total bush-league frustration job on Gasol). The Grizzlies are gonna just play basketball-only seven TO’s for the game, seven steals, seven blocks, and generally good defense anchored by the DPOY (man, ain’t it just great that a non-pogostick deservedly got that award?).
Don’t write the obit for the Clippers’ season just yet, but if the Grizzlies can play like they have over the last three, might be time to make sure the pens have ink…