I'm still undecided as to which Clipper I hate the most after this game, but i think it has to go to Blake (with honorable mentions to Ryan Hollins' awful head and Deandre for his attempts to accuse Nick Calathes of flopping). Punching Bayless on picks, then flopping when Jerryd goes through him, I suppose this makes us even for Z-bo's elbows last game.
We played the first half in the mud and it suited the Grizzlies style of play, but after the Blake flop early in the third, the momentum turned for the Clips, and they carried it to a dominant second half. We were missing TA, Marc and Ed (who had a nice start), but our offensive and defensive game-plan was horrible in the half. Whilst I am a Joeger fan, and did appreciate him defending our players and picking up a tech, why the hell wasn't he making offensive and defensive adjustments, or why weren't the players following them.
Pick and Roll Defense (No Man's Land)
On the pick and roll, it makes it easier for me to think the big man can be in 3 spots, either pressuring the ball handler (hedging), stepping back and protecting the paint, or stuck in between these areas, in "no man's land". You need to hedge if you want to cause turnovers or if you're up against a knockdown shooter from deep, as its essentially a double team that opens a driving lane to the hoop. Below Marc has hedged on his brother's pick and forced Jodie Meeks into a tough shot.
I advocated in my last defensive suggestions fanpost against the Clippers that the Griz big men should just step back from the pick and protect the paint. Why? Doing this gives the opposition open mid range jumpers for either the ball handler (Paul) or the big man (Griffin), and I think this to be a better option that swingmen coming over to help, which limits the assist options for CP3. Below is the Clippers' loss to Orlando, and you can see Vucevic cutting off the driving lane for both CP3 and Deandre. So what are Chris' options? Either pull up, or make a pass to a guarded player (He passed to Blake who faded 6 feet on the jumper and missed).
So what pick and roll defense did the Grizzlies play against the Clippers when the wheels started falling off? Placing our bigs into No Man's land, where they can't prevent dribble penetration/rolling lanes and are also stuck guarding no one, creating a whole ton of opportunites for the best PG in the league. Below I've highlighted Leuer and Koufos, both being stuck on the opposite ends of "No Man's land". Leuer has come up to hedge, but was a step too slow (he hedged nicely when the Clippers ran the same play 24 seconds later), meaning he's given up an open lane to the basket for both CP3 and his man, Blake. Meanwhile, Koufos is stuck between whether he should respect Deandre's jumper or protect the hoop, he just needs to stand and protect the hoop, if Deandre wants to go anywhere else just leave him alone. This play resulted in a wide open layup for CP3, and although it was a nice play, we can do better even with our back-up bigs!
(This was the next play - and a good example of how we should've guarded it the first time, except just go back Kouf who cares if Blake or Deandre want to stay away from the hoop)
Sorry I just wanted to include another example to show I wasn't lying, yes you do want to stop Jamison getting a good look, but if you're going to hedge you need to create even a little bit of a hesitation from the ball handler, Leuer hasn't done this and has also easily let Crawford back into the middle of the court, a cardinal sin for a good defense.
Offense (Too much mud!!!)
I was worried that the Grizzlies would just dump the ball back into Z-bo with his return this game, and that there wouldn't be much ball and player movement. To combat this I would've liked to have seen some of the offensive sets the Griz used against the Suns in the second, but also utilise cutters off Z-bo in the post (http://www.grizzlybearblues.com/2013/12/5/5177686/offensive-suggestions-for-the-clippers-take-from-down-under).
Playing inside out, 'in the mud', is the Grizzlies identity, but it needs to be complemented with smoother offensive sets, created by movement, in this game there was too much mud!
In the below play, the ball is dumped into Z-bo, who reposts, and tries to drive by the monster Deandre. He's forced into a pass to Miller, who Willie Green deflects for the TO. I thought the Clippers would double team Z-bo, but instead they put Deandre on Z-bo for single coverage without Marc. Now, if the other team's rim protector is focused on his man and away from the rim, that should mean you just stand around on the perimeter doesn't it? (never thought I'd notice TA's absence on offense this much). Tay or Miller should've cut to the rim, or Tay should've been replaced by a more capable Pondexter in this line-up.
Give credit to the Clippers, especially CP3, for hounding Mike Conley whenever he had the ball. But we know that the Clippers have great individual defenders, ie CP3 on Mike, Deandre on Z-bo, so we had to beat them by moving the rock/creating switches/doing anything other than what we did. If Joeger really wants to get rid of vomit basketball in Memphis, why weren't any offensive adjustments made in the third (fyi: kept a bucket next to me for the entirety of the second).
Below, Paul is hounding Mike, who ends up driving through the double with Deandre to find the open Prince, who misses the jumper. I like to think on this play, everyone thought to themselves 'nah, surely someone else will be cutting to the basket'.
There were a few more plays like this, but instead I'll just show the sets that the Grizzlies did call, which were essentially the curls that create cutting opportunities for our swingmen, or can lead to a big man getting the ball on the elbow or lower down. We run this play usually for Marc up high (or Zach down low), as he can shoot, post up or pass, but instead we were running it for Koufos who isn't as effective away from the hoop. So here's Bayless curling around Koufos, who then comes out to set a screen for Mike (as he's not going to post up at the elbow like Marc).
Koufos' man pressures Conley, who gives the ball up to Koufos in a position too far away from the basket. Conley's only option is to get the hand-off from Koufos ( who again, isn't effective out here) ........
And launch a horrible shot, which rattles in. Thank God for Mike.
So why on earth was this the offensive set called, when the play relies on Marc's abilites from the elbow that Koufos doesn't possess. Why not run what we did against the Suns in the second half, which was more suited to the available personnel.
I suppose we shouldn't be too critical when we are missing the players that make up our identity, but the second half of this game was horrible on both ends of the court, and the Clippers blew us out of the Grindhouse. Either the coaching staff needed to make some adjustments or the players weren't executing, but we need to fix whichever it is if we have any hope of having a reasonable record when Marc returns.