In a rematch from last year's thrilling first round series, the Los Angeles Clippers and Memphis Grizzlies are renewing their playoff rivalry. Ten years ago if someone told you these two teams would be constant figures in the Western Conference playoffs they would have called you a dirty liar and then followed up with, "Memphis has a team!? HOW!?"
What makes the series even more fun is the contrast of styles. The Clippers love to get out and run, have as many possessions as possible, score as many points as possible, defense be damned and only used to start a break.
Grizzlies love to slow it down, make you play defense for 20-23 seconds at a time, crash the offensive glass and make you do it all over again. They'll pound the ball down low, kick it out for 15-20 footers, not threes. The Grizzlies only shoot about 13 threes a game and make just about four of those.
The Clippers are helmed by the best point guard in the NBA, Chris Paul. Paul is one of those players who doesn't have to score for his team to win. There are more than enough guys on the Clippers who can put the ball in the basket, but they need Paul to guide them to the right spot to get the easiest points possible and he does so with ease.
Poor Blake Griffin is going to get beat up in this series. He's going to have Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol in his ribs the entire series. They are going to batter and bruise him, beat him ragged and bloody and whatever other cliché you can come up with for the situation. Griffin can't get frustrated though, he's not going to get the calls like he does in the regular season.
The Grizzlies are going to have to find a way to potentially outscore the Clippers. The Clippers won three of the four games this year and seemed to wear the Griz down as the game went along.
Tony Allen is going be guarding the best perimeter player of the Clippers when he is on the court. It will be his job to keep Crawford from going off and keep Chris Paul from penetrating and kicking. If he can do that the Grizzlies have a great chance to win the series.
DeAndre Jordan is going to have to keep his head on a swivel in this series. The Grizzlies like to play a high-low flex with Gasol and Randolph. Never will both men be in the low block. One will always be down low and the other sitting 15-18 feet away from the basket. Jordan is going to have to pick his spots to double low on Randolph and make sure there is good help defense to pick up Gasol out high. He can't afford any brain farts. He has to play smart defense and the Grizzlies will force him to do that every trip down the floor.
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