The Grizzlies have had a chance to sleep in their own beds and
are ready to get back to playing Memphis basketball. That means
rebounding, dominating the paint and some sticky defense.
Keeping Zach Randolph on the floor and out of foul trouble also
would be a big help.
The Memphis All-Star has been limited by foul trouble as the Los
Angeles Clippers jumped out to a 2-0 lead in this first-round
series. Randolph averaged 11.2 rebounds a game during the regular
season but has 12 total in the series. He said Wednesday the
officiating has been different from the Grizzlies’ series against
San Antonio in 2011 and last year against these same Clippers.
”Even last year, they let us play a little bit more, and it
seems like this year, they kind of focusing … on me and Blake,”
Randolph said of Clippers forward Blake Griffin. ”So it’s kind of
been like that. Little ticky tack here and there.”
Coach Lionel Hollins has his own idea on his Grizzlies can
adjust to the officiating Thursday night with Game 3 here in
”Stop committing ticky tack fouls,” Hollins said. ”When you
know the referees going to call them, you got to stop committing
Randolph wasn’t fully recovered from an injured knee when the
Clippers beat Memphis in seven games to open the postseason a year
ago. He’s healthy now but was limited to less than 25 minutes as
Los Angeles routed the Grizzlies in Game 1. He played nearly 31
minutes in Monday night’s 93-91 loss as he and Griffin picked up
double fouls for a second straight game, but Randolph was on the
floor the least of any of Memphis’ starters.
”We just got to come out and play basketball …,” Randolph
said. ”They had their crowd behind them. We fought hard both
games. We had a chance to win. They won on their home court. That’s
what we’ve got to do the same thing.”
Getting Randolph in foul trouble has been part of the Clippers’
plan to chip at the Grizzlies’ edge both in rebounding and scoring
in the paint. The Clippers had a 50-46 scoring edge in the paint
winning Monday night, and Griffin said they want to attack Randolph
so that the forward has to either foul or get out of the way.
”As long as he’s not getting the rebound, we’re headed in the
right direction,” Griffin said. ”I just have to keep my body on
him, make sure he’s accounted for at all times, and gang up on him
like we did last time. He’s tough to handle.”
Griffin fouled out in the opening game but scored 21 points with
eight rebounds in Game 2. Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro said
Griffin has to pick his spots against Memphis.
”If they’re going to single-cover him, then he’s got to attack
and make them pay for that and try to get guys in foul trouble,”
Del Negro said. ”If they’re going to double him, he’s got to make
plays and get the ball out, and we’ve got to do a good job making
teams pay for that. Blake’s going to do what helps us win. If they
double him, he’s got to make the right play. If they single-cover
him, he’s got to make them pay for that too.”
The Clippers dominated on the boards to open the series, beating
the Grizzlies with their own style. Mike Conley said guards must
help out Randolph and center Marc Gasol, named the NBA’s Defensive
Player of the Year on Wednesday, with the Clippers so long and
adept at tipping balls out near the 3-point line with no Memphis
guard to be found.
”We have to do a better job coming back and picking up those
50-50 balls,” Conley said. ”If we can do that, we’ll be in
The Clippers practiced in Los Angeles before catching a flight
to Memphis for what guard Chris Paul, who scored the game-winning
shot Monday night, called a business trip looking for a 10th
straight win overall and a 3-0 series lead. Complacency is not an
issue for the Clippers.
”We have enough veteran leadership to know how important these
games are,” Paul said.
So do the Grizzlies, who trailed the Clippers 3-1 a year ago
before winning two straight to force a Game 7 that Los Angeles won
here in Memphis.
”It’s a huge game for us,” Conley said. ”We get to be in
front of our home crowd … Game 2 we feel like we were one or two
plays away from winning that one. It’s a tough loss, but we have to
put that in the backseat now and worry about what’s going on
tomorrow. We’re playing another tough game. We know it’s going to
be a dog fight, and we need to win it.”
Follow Teresa M. Walker at www.twitter.com/teresamwalker