Mar 24, 2012; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Memphis Grizzlies forward Marreese Speights (5) is fouled by Los Angeles Clippers guard Chris Paul (3) during the third quarter at the Staples Center. The Los Angeles Clippers defeated the Memphis Grizzlies 101-85. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-US PRESSWIRE
I originally intended to write this recap immediately after the game, but then I found myself so disgusted that I couldn't even think about the Grizzlies, much less write about them. I've now had a full night to digest this crapfest, and while I'm just as angry, I think that I can at least cover this game in a semi-rational way.
In yesterday's game preview, I mentioned that the Clippers, to date, had the third-worst (tied with Washington) defense in the NBA. Based on this fact, my prediction was that several Grizzlies would have good nights. Memphis wasn't great on defense, but, more importantly, they were horrendous offensively. Now I don't mind being proven wrong, but, in this case, I shouldn't have been. Again, it should be reiterated: the Clippers have the third-worst defense. Marc ought to scored more than 6 points. Surely Rudy and Zach can manage more than a combined 25 points on 25 shots? Mike Conley, Quincy Pondexter, and Marreese Speights were arguably the only ones to have good games, and combined they only took 13 shots.
In theory, I think the Grizzlies are fine in spite of this loss. Looking at this roster, you can see that it's pretty solid. It certainly has fewer glaring weaknesses than many of our Western conference competitors, LAC included. However, it's troubling that Memphis can't seem to gel offensively. As someone who's inclined towards statistics, I can point out all the hard evidence, but in this case, I'll simply say that on the offensive end we don't pass the "eye test." For comparison, go back and watch Game 1 of the Western Conference Semi-Finals and then watch the past few games. Even without Rudy, our offense was incredible to watch; we would run screens to get Zach and Marc good post position, and they would either finish or feed cutters. We just haven't seen that type of performance this season. Now many have questioned whether Zach and Rudy can co-exist. Personally, I feel that there's overwhelming evidence that suggests otherwise, but for whatever reason, it isn't working right now.
Whatever the case may be, the team needs to sort out its issues quickly. In some ways, last season's stunning upset against the Spurs is working against us here: the team seems to think that playoff seeding isn't that important because they can just repeat last season's magic. While that series was no fluke, I wouldn't place any bets on another 7th- or 8th-seed overcoming the odds. That means we need to concentrate on winning our remaining games and getting the best seeding possible.