GAME 6 FEATURED MATCHUP: CHRIS PAUL VS. QUINCY PONDEXTER

Chris Paul vs. Quincy Pondexter

MEMPHIS – The Grizzlies, stout defense and all, have tried their mightiest to slow down Chris Paul.

But through five games, Paul is just the fifth player since 2004-05 to average at least 21 points, six assists, four rebounds and two steals while playing at least five playoff games. In Game 5, Paul matched his career postseason high with 35 points on 11-for-24 shooting. He’s been the one constant in a Clippers offense that has struggled at times throughout the series.

To imply that long-armed wing defender Quincy Pondexter has slowed down Paul all that much is a bit of exaggeration, considering Paul’s statistical output. Paul has said that bigger defenders don’t bother him, it just gives him an opportunity to drive around them.

But Memphis has not used Pondexter exclusively. It’s been Mike Conley early, likely All-Defensive Team candidate Tony Allen at times, Tayshaun Prince, Jarryd Bayless and Pondexter. In Game 5, it was mostly the third-year forward from the University of Washington in the fourth quarter.

He is averaging 12.7 minutes per game on the court when Paul is on the floor as well. In those spots Paul is shooting 22% worse and averaging nearly nine points fewer. But to Paul’s earlier point, that he can drive around the bigger, longer-armed defenders, it seems accurate. In those 12.7 minutes, Paul is averaging two shots per game inside of five feet, shooting 70.0%.

The matchup between Paul and Pondexter is somewhat tricky. In part, because when Pondexter is on the court it does not necessarily mean he is guarding Paul, it allows the Grizzlies that option as well as the option of switching more often.

One of the more notable statistical differences when Paul has been guarded by Pondexter is that Paul’s assists have dropped dramatically. That’s partly why Paul said, “I definitely need to get more people involved” after practice Thursday.

Pondexter tends to guard Paul most in the fourth quarter when Paul in the five games has become more of a scorer. In five games, Paul is averaging just 1.2 fourth-quarter assists (almost five assists per game in the other three quarters combined).

While the individual defensive matchup is the most intriguing, the real factor in Game 6 will be if Paul can generate offense for his teammates. If that happens, whether it’s Pondexter, Allen or Conley are on him, the series will likely be headed back to L.A.

Chris Paul Statistical Comparison with Pondexter On/Off Court

 

MPG

PPG

APG

SPG

RPG

FG%

3P%

FT%

On

12.7

6.6

1.6

0.6

1.0

36.7%

16.7%

90.9%

Off

23.8

15.2

4.4

1.4

3.0

58.7%

50.0%

100.0%