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Chris Paul says Game 5 against Grizzlies is ‘win or go home’

Apr 30, 2013, 1:57 PM EDT

Vinny Del Negro, Matt Barnes, Lamar Odom, Chris Paul, Blake Griffin AP

After watching how the first four games of the playoffs have unfolded between the Clippers and the Grizzlies, it’s easy to see why teams put so much stock in having home court advantage.

Championship teams will win anywhere, of course, and will find a way to impose their will no matter the venue. But in this series, we’ve seen the home team put together largely dominant performances, so as things shift back to Los Angeles for Game 5, the Clippers have to hope they can regain their swagger from the first two games, or they know their time in this postseason will be set to expire.

“We have to come out with more energy,” Chris Paul said, via Arash Markazi of ESPN Los Angeles. “We won two games at home and they won two games at home, and that’s why you fight so hard for home-court advantage. We have to come out with the same intensity in Game 5 that we did in Games 1 and 2. We have to understand that it’s a three-game series now, and we have to play hard and compete and play the way that we know we can.”

“We got to win this game,” Paul said. “It’s win or go home.”

The winner of Game 5 obviously becomes the favorite to advance, and that would be especially true in the Clippers’ case, considering that if a Game 7 is necessary, it will be played on the floor of the Staples Center.

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves.

While the Clippers saw plenty of things go their way in Games 1 and 2, most of the positives came from the bench unit. Any time L.A. was able to get rolling with its starters, it was due to Zach Randolph or Mark Gasol being burdened with early foul trouble that disrupted the Grizzlies’ lineup, and messed with their ability to match strength with strength on the defensive end of the floor.

The Clippers will look to be the aggressors on their home court once again, and that starts with Paul. He can’t disappear for stretches, and needs to be more involved in initiating offensive sets that result in good, high percentage shots — something that was severely lacking for the Clippers over the last couple of games in Memphis.

Blake Griffin needs to attack Randolph to make him play at both ends, and L.A. needs to get back to its trend of having everyone be responsible for rebounding as it did in the first two games of the series.

Speaking of trends, there are a couple that have been forming which have been very encouraging signs for the Grizzlies. The production level they’ve been getting from Randolph and Gasol has been increasing every game, as has the rebounding margin — which Memphis was on the wrong end of by 24 in Game 1, but has improved in every game since. After being outrebounded by 24 in Game 1, Memphis was on the other side of things in Game 4 with a plus-17 advantage on the glass.

L.A. will look to get back to its bench dominating, and will attempt to be aggressive early in establishing Griffin inside. Most importantly, the Clippers will need to find a way to slow an increasingly confident Grizzlies team, or home court advantage by itself won’t be enough to save them in this series.

  1. gmen4life33 - Apr 30, 2013 at 2:07 PM

    That expression is so overused for non closeout games. So if you lose Game 5 are you not going to show up for game 6 Chris? Common. Crucial game. Most important game of the season so far. But it isnt win or go home. Loser will be there for Game 6…

    • jdillydawg - Apr 30, 2013 at 8:18 PM

      It’s overused, period. However, in this case, it’s not only overused, it’s not even correct. No matter who wins, the Grizzlies get to go home. Technically, if the Clippers win tonight and win in Memphis, then they will will be the ones “going home,” while the Grizzlies stay home?

      Sure, I get the symbolism, but if you’re going to use the phrase in a non-closeout game, then I can’t help but ridicule it.

  2. melkipershero - Apr 30, 2013 at 2:09 PM

    If they lose this one, watch out.


  3. dirtydavis - Apr 30, 2013 at 2:17 PM

    Lets go Memphis!!! I cant stand the Clippers

    yours truly,
    Laker Fan

  4. asimonetti88 - Apr 30, 2013 at 2:58 PM

    Go Grizzlies! They are a fun team and I hope they go far.

  5. stayhigh_247 - Apr 30, 2013 at 4:01 PM

    Mark & Zebo lets get it done tonight!!! Go Grizz!!!

  6. jerdogthompson - Apr 30, 2013 at 5:44 PM

    Clippers 104. Gizz 91

    Mark it down.

  7. jrclip013 - Apr 30, 2013 at 7:03 PM

    Grizz have no chance tonight…CLIPPERS tonight by a blowout

  8. fearthehoody - Apr 30, 2013 at 8:51 PM

    As a Clipp fan Im stuck! Win, and Clipps a win away from Round 2. Lose, and they are pretty much done and VDN will definitely be fired! Win-Win!?

  9. pistol7pete - Apr 30, 2013 at 10:23 PM

    ^^^ bold move calling the score

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