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Clippers vs. Grizzlies: Game 4


After allowing more than 90 points in the first two games of the series, the Memphis Grizzlies went back to what got them into the playoffs in the first place, solid defense.

The league’s best defense – anchored by 2012-2013 Defensive Player of the Year Marc Gasol – held the Clippers to just 82 points in game three, picking up their first win in the series by a score of 94-82. Now, down 2-1, they still have a lot of work to do, but they proved they can hang with the mighty Clippers.

It’s almost funny to call the Clippers mighty, as they enjoyed their first-ever 50-win season this year, but the Clippers have looked like one of the league’s elite all year long and after winning games one and two of their current series, it looked like the four seed might make quick work of a team they’ve dominated recently.

However, it was not going to be that easy. After torching the Grizzlies in front of two Staples Center crowds, Chris Paul was held to just eight points in game three.

“I just got to be more aggressive you know what I mean?” Paul said Friday after practice, according to ESPN.com. “I’ve just got to be more aggressive. I played 30 some minutes and didn’t shoot one free throw. Something ain’t right.”

Shutting down Paul’s production may have been the key to Memphis’ win. The Grizzlies now know they have a gameplan that works against him. They simply have to execute it again in game four.

“We got a scheme for him we want to stick to it,” Grizzlies guard Tony Allen said. “And we definitely know that he’s going to come in aggressive tomorrow. We know all those guys are going to be aggressive. What we have to do is come in with the mentality we want to hit first and protect our home court.”

The other key for Memphis to even the series will be winning the war in the paint. The team that has won the rebounding edge has won each game in the series so far and it’s likely that trend will continue in game four. Zach Randolph got into foul trouble in each of the first two games, which limited his production on the glass, but he was back at it in game three, as he collected 11 rebounds.

The Grizzlies have a good chance to win the rebounding battle again, but that also means they have to force the Clippers to miss shots. This is something they did in game three, but can they keep it up? Against this Clippers team, which is so deep and so good at every position, that will be a tall order.

In the series, Los Angeles still appears to have the advantage. The Clippers are simply too talented on offense and consistent enough on defensive that they will likely win the series, especially considering their solid track record against the Grizzlies. However, with home court advantage today and with a little momentum, I like Memphis to pick up another win in game four and even this thing at 2-2. Look for the Grizzlies to cover -3.5 points in the win.

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