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Grizzlies need to control the boards, increase the pace to bounce back in Game 2 against Clippers

Apr 22, 2013, 2:33 PM EDT

Memphis Grizzlies v Los Angeles Clippers - Game One Getty Images

LOS ANGELES — After the Clippers took Game 1 from the Grizzlies by dominating the glass, that was the area that Memphis seemed most focused on improving for the next game of the series and beyond.

Being on the wrong end of a 47-23 rebounding margin will do that.

But it wasn’t the big men of the Clippers who were necessarily doing the damage. While they did a good job putting a body on Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph that helped limit them to just six rebounds in total, it was the guards and wings, especially off the Clippers’ bench, that were creating the most problems.

“They’re athletic, man,” Mike Conley said of the way the Clippers were able to crash the boards after Game 1. “They’ve got two and there guys going to the glass every time, jumping over us and just using their athleticism. We’ve got to do a better job of checking them, our guards have to do a better job of coming back to rebound and helping our bigs. If we can win the rebound battle, we have a chance to win.”

Gasol said the same thing about winning the rebounding battle, and given the fact that the Grizzlies were second in the league in rebounding rate during the regular season, it’s expected that they’ll do a better job in cleaning up that mess in time for Game 2.

Closing the gap on the boards will definitely help the Grizzlies’ cause, but that alone won’t be enough. They’ll need to manufacture offense consistently throughout the course of the game, and can’t afford to go several minutes without scoring. Despite the rebounding disadvantage, Memphis was within one point of the Clippers with just over 10 minutes left in Game 1, before L.A. put together a 15-2 run to seal it.

Believe it or not, Memphis actually got the pace it wanted in Game 1, at least defensively. It was just an 85 possession game, though the Clippers’ efficiency ended up coming in at a blistering 129.3 points per 100 possessions.

Offensively, though, it would help if Memphis could speed things up, and get into the team’s sets a little sooner to exploit the Clippers’ defense for easier opportunities. Grizzlies head coach Lionel Hollins explained before Game 1 why he believes playing faster would be beneficial to his team’s offense.

“Everybody thinks we want to play at a slow pace,” he said. “We don’t. What I’d like to see us do better is rebound the ball, and then run off misses. But we don’t do that as often as we should. We have done it in the past, and we’ve done it in certain games, but it’s just a mindset of going out and doing it. We need our big people to run, we need our wings to run, we need our point guard to push the ball.

“I think they’re confident in playing the way they play but I’d rather play a little bit quicker,” Hollins continued. “I’m not talking about running up the court and taking the first three-pointer; that’s not what I mean at all. I mean, just get over half court [with 20 seconds still left on the shot clock], and explore it from there.”

On the Clippers’ side, they’ll need to continue to get production off the bench, but the Game 1 numbers don’t tell the entire story. Lamar Odom, for example, finished with seven rebounds and three assists in 18 minutes, but was just 1-7 from the field and largely brutal for stretches on both ends of the floor.

Eric Bledsoe finished 7-7 from the field, but four of those shots and eight of his 13 fourth quarter points came in the game’s final five minutes, with the Clippers already up double digits and the game having already been decided.

To bounce back in Game 2, the Grizzlies will need to shore up the problems in the rebounding category, avoid any long scoring droughts, and limit the impact of the Clippers’ reserves. Do all of that, and the series will be tied at a game apiece heading back to Memphis.

  1. 4thquartermagic - Apr 22, 2013 at 2:55 PM

    Shots weren’t falling for the Grizz, that happens.
    Getting owned on the boards (something they did well all year), can’t happen.

    Rebounding and defense (to a point) is all about hustle and energy. Tough to open on the road, but these teams have played against each other in the playoffs before. No excuse for not showing up by Memphis.

  2. aboogy123456 - Apr 22, 2013 at 3:22 PM

    I still got the Grizzlies winning this series. I was surprised that Randolph could not dominate Griffin, he will need to be a lot more effective and I think he will bounce back in game 2 and have a great game.

  3. jerdogthompson - Apr 22, 2013 at 8:11 PM

    With a bad back Griffin pretty much kept z-Bo in check. With rest and further treatments at home I suspect the back is better today vs Saturday. Headed to the game shortly where I’m a mere 8 rows off the floor and I think the Clippers will take game 2 much in the same fashion game 1 was taken. The thing that gets me is Memphis is all about the “grit & grind” yet when they are faced with an opponent like they faced in the Clippers Saturday its all about the shots weren’t falling or the refs weren’t calling fouls, etc…..reminds of King James complaining about Chicago roughing him up earlier this year yet he is the first one to lower his head and bowl over defenders.

    Can’t have it both ways Memphis.

    Rise up Clipper nation.

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