The Grizzlies took down the Los Angeles Clippers 90-87. The Clippers were without Blake Griffin, but had won four straight coming into this game. The Grizzlies were coming off a back to back, but proved they were up to the challenge.
After the first half the Grizzlies were down 6. It was a minor miracle the Clippers lead wasn't in the double digits. Sloppy offense and loose defense allowed the Clippers to take the lead into half. The Grizzlies weren't playing the ball they needed to play to take home the win off the back to back.
Chris Paul was doing anything he wanted in the first half. He was shooting fire from his fingertips and the Grizzlies couldn't do anything about it. Mike Conley has never been great at guarding CP3 (but who is) so I wasn't surprised that he was struggling. I was surprised that Courtney Lee and Nick Calathes acted like they had never guarded him before. They were letting him get to his spots and choose what he wanted to do instead of forcing him left and throwing every single person they had in front of him. So
Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol were stifled in the first half. ZBo by Deandre Jordan and Gasol by a combination of Jordan, Spencer Hawes (????????) and Matt Barnes. Instead of moving the ball and let ZBo get his points off of offensive rebounds or high/low sets with Gasol the Grizzlies kept forcing isos with him. This isn't the Deandre Jordan we are accustomed to. He's more aggressive and not going to be pushed around anymore. Nobody was really prepared for this. He locked ZBo down in every possible way, but they kept forcing the ball to him.
The only reason the Grizzlies were in the game is because the second unit took advantage of what the Clippers call a second unit, but wouldn't be the starting lineup at my high school. Beno Udrih, Nick Calathes, Tony Allen, Jon Leuer and Kosta Koufos held it down in the second quarter, but the starters came back in and let the Clippers take the lead back into halftime. If Tony Allen being the leading scorer of that half doesn't say it all I don't know what does.
The real Grizzlies team showed up in the second half and it was awesome.
Instead of forcing the ball inside to ZBo, Marc Gasol was getting the ball and just doing things with it. Gasol was finally taking advantage of Spencer Hawes in the post, hitting cutters from the high post and causing havoc on defense. It was glorious to watch. He finally went to back being the guy for the Grizzlies.
Joining Marc Gaosl in playing like himself was Mike Conley. Conley is finally healthy and tore the Clippers up in the second half. He was slashing to the basket and was all in the passing lanes on defense. He hasn't looked this good in a long time. The all-star break did wonders for the Grizzlies point guard.
It's been no secret the Grizzlies defense hasn't been the same this season. It has made a reappearance in the last two games. Nick Calathes and Tony Allen set the tone off the bench in the second quarter. Everyone else caught up in the second half. Gasol was holding down the back line with 3 blocks, Conley and Lee both had two steals (one on CP3 in the final seconds) and Kosta Koufos was causing problems for the Clippers JV squad.
Jeff Green had his best game as a Grizzly against the Clippers. He was doing all the things he needed to do to be successful. He was limiting his dribbling and when he did dribble it was to the basket, he hit his corner threes and played good defense when he played the four.
The Grizzlies are now 41-14 with the Kings up on Wednesday.
- There was no fight. I was disappointed.
- It took three quarters for Chris Paul to flop for the first time! It was all down hill from there.
- Mike Conley hit a three five feet behind the line, with the shot clock running down and over Deandre Jordan. It was awesome.
- Nick Calathes continues to be awesome off the bench. He completely usurped Beno Udrih's role in the second half.