Outworked. Out-hustled. Outplayed. The Los Angeles Clippers came out in Game 1 of the series and asserted their dominance over Memphis, winning by the final score of 112-91.
This is the reason I didn't want to play the Clippers, because they mentally own this fan base and this team and this entire organization. I was fully prepared to be miserable from before the game even started. Here are some pregame thoughts.
9:35pm I am ready for this to be over with. Not the game, the series.
9:36pm the Braves score rolls across the screen. It has the potential to be a double loss day for me. Ugh.
9:38pm We get Mike Tirico and Hubie Brown. Maybe this won't be the worst day ever.
9:39pm "...Chris Broussard is going to join us later..." Spoke to soon.
The game was just as disgusting as I imagined it would be.
Memphis, as always, needed well over two minutes to score it's first points, and were down 6-0 seemingly before the game even started. Zach Randolph picked up his second foul with 7:05 to play, and the tone for the game was immediately set by the officials: we're going to call garbage all game long. And they did, on both sides of the ball, all night. Three Grizzlies starters would pick up two fouls in the first quarter, and the Clippers would jump out to a 29-21 lead behind 13 combined points from Chirs Paul and Blake Griffin (7 and 6 respectively).
In the second quarter, Memphis was able to get things going offensively. Jerryd Bayless scored nine points (four with his foot on the dagum 3-point line!), Marc Gasol had eight, and Zach Randolph had seven to pace the Grizzlies, who would score 30 points in the quarter. Unfortunately, Memphis was unable to keep the Clippers from scoring, as they amassed 28 of their own in the quarter, with the final two coming on a Matt Barnes tip-in with under a second to play in the half. That play completely sums up the first half, as the Clippers dominated the boards and had 16 second chance points. Still, as poorly as the Grizzlies played, they were only down six at the break.
The third quarter, the one the Grizzlies had made a habit of dominating for the majority of the season, started off as the Chris Paul show. Paul went on a 7-2 by himself before Lionel called a timeout, and finished with 23 points and 7 assists. Out of no where, after an absolutely atrocious first half, Mike Conley decided to show up. Exactly 4 minutes after I tweeted that Mike needed to "tape a cheetah to his back" the Grizzlies point guard started attacking the basket and getting a few shots to fall. He had 7 points in the quarter, and the teams would play to an 18-18 tie, as Los Angeles went into the fourth leading by six.
In the fourth, Memphis went to work. Jerryd Bayless got two quick fouls called against the Clippers, and Memphis would close to within one at 77-76. From their, Los Angeles stepped on the throat, and finished things. They went on an immediate 6-0 run, grabbed every rebound, and kept Memphis from scoring at the rim, and they did it with all bench players.
Game Notes from the Legend-Diary
- Keyon Dooling made 2-3 from beyond the arc, and I still think we'd be better served playing Tony Wroten, I'm not sure why.
- The ESPN crew showed several clips of fans with FatHeads in the crowd, not a single one with a sarcastic or "offensive" Grizz one. Respect.
- Mike Conley and Tayshaun Prince were 100% ineffective basically the entire night, and were a combined -19 on the night.
- With 5:33 left to play, Tony Allen had accumulated 16 minutes of playing time. On a night where Conley had nothing, and Paul had his A game, you've got to be smart enough as a head coach to put your best defender on their best offensive player.
- Jerryd Bayless and Keyon Dooling were still playing at the 5:33 mark of the fourth quarter. Dooling played 18 minutes, two more than Tony Allen. Go home, Lionel Hollins, you're drunk.
The loss gives the Clippers a 1-0 lead in the series. Game 2, if you can stomach it is Monday night at 9:30. A lot has got to change for the Grizzlies if they are going to
win get a lead in this series. For starters, Lionel Hollins has got to do a better job of coaching. Mike Conley needs to play better. Tayshaun Prince needs to play better. Tony Allen needs to play. The Grizzlies can't get outrebounded by 20 (20!!!) and they can't shoot. They just can't play anything like they did tonight. If they do, not only will they lose this series, but they'll lose it in five games or less.
The Clippers didn't play a great game tonight. Blake Griffin had only 10 points, and Jamal Crawford was 1-6 from beyond the arc. What they did was completely and totally outhustle and outwork the Grizzlies. A team who claims to have the mantra of "All Heart, Grit and Grind" were outdone in all three categories this evening, and that's incredibly scary to think about going forward.
 When I say offensive, I mean like the ones the Grizzlies' fans have of Blake sucking a pacifier and what not. It doesn't offend me, but that was just the best word.
 Let's be honest, that was probably only his B- game.