Conley’s career night goes for naught in loss
The Grizzlies wasted the best playoff game of point guard Mike Conley’s career on Monday night.
Conley had 25 points, eight assists and seven rebounds in the Clippers’ 101-97 overtime victory over the Grizzlies in game four of their Western Conference first-round series on Monday night in Los Angeles.
“We started out very aggressively, but we lost what we wanted to do throughout the game,” Conley said. “We had long stretches where we couldn’t establish an inside game. Then, we get to the fourth quarter and they got an offensive rebound here and an offensive rebound there.”
The one part of Conley’s game that has been nullified in the series is steals. He was second in the NBA in steals in the regular season and he’s had just three in four playoff games against the Clips, including just one on Monday.
“You have to credit Chris Paul for that,” Conley said of the Clips’ point guard. “He dominates the ball and takes care of it, and we like to get in the passing lanes. If you gamble against him, he’ll make you pay.”
Grizzlies being outworked by Clippers
–The Clippers had no second-chance points in regulation, yet scored five of their 14 overtime points off second chances.
“We’ve lost games this series, because we haven’t done the little things correctly,” Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins said, “like box out, set screens better, get up-court faster and create a better tempo for our offense, or giving up open threes.”
–The Grizzlies have now lost five straight to the Clippers in Staples Center. Game 5 is Wednesday before the series returns to Memphis for game five.
–Only eight teams in NBA history have come back from a 3-1 deficit to win a seven-game series.
“We’re still confident,” Grizzlies guard Mike Conley insisted. “We’ve got to find a way to get everybody involved, to make everyone realize that every possession really matters in the playoffs.”
QUOTE TO NOTE: “We’ve got to feel like it’s the last game, because it could be the last game.’ — Grizzlies G Mike Conley, on Wednesday’s Game 5 in Memphis with the Clippers leading the series 3-to-1.
–In the first 13 playoff games of his career, Grizzlies C Marc Gasol came of age last year when he averaged 15 points and 11 rebounds. It earned him a sizeable contract extension and he justified that extension this season by averaging 14.6 points and 8.9 during the regular season, when he was named to the Western Conference All-Star team.
But after the first four games this series, Gasol was averaging but 10.3 points and 6.5 rebounds, getting just seven field goal attempts per game. He had eight points and five rebounds on Monday, going just 1-of-4 from the field.
“All these games are physical,” Gasol said, “and the bar is set pretty high. It all depends on how much the officials let us get away with.”
Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins said his team needed to put more pressure on the officials.
“We need to keep attacking and throwing the ball in the post and make the referees make a call,” Hollins said.
–F Rudy Gay had one of the worst-looking 23-point performances you’ve ever seen, hitting just 8-for-25 shots including 1-of-6 threes. He’s shooting just 42.5 percent from the field on the series and has been lit up by whomever he’s guarding.
“I still believe this is a confident bunch of guys,” Gay said. “It’s about maintaining focus from beginning to end, without lapses.”