Clippers-Grizzlies Preview

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.”

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