PREGAME REPORT | APRIL 27, 2013
Tipoff: 1:30 p.m. PT | FedEx Forum | Memphis, TN | Game Notes »
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It’s often said that a playoff series does not begin until a team wins on the road. The Clippers are hoping to get this series started in Game 4 to give themselves a chance to close it out Tuesday night back in Los Angeles.
The Clippers (56-26, 2-1) will be looking to win their fifth game in their last eight trips to FedEx Forum on Saturday afternoon against the Memphis Grizzlies (56-26, 1-2).
The “Grindhouse” is sure to be rocking with another raucous crowd, which helped supply the Grizzlies with energy as they held serve in Game 3 on Thursday night.
“They came out very aggressive,” Clippers point guard Chris Paul said. “A lot of credit goes to their team, they played hard, they rebounded and they got to the line. We just never really recovered.”
The Clippers lost for the first time since April 1 against the Indiana Pacers and it was their first defeat in Memphis since Game 5 of last season’s first round series.
Paul will be looking to bounce back after an off-night that saw him score just eight points and dish out four assists. He also had five turnovers, marking the first time the eighth-year guard has had more turnovers than assists in the playoffs since the second game of the Clippers’ second round series against the Spurts last year and just the third time in 37 career playoff games.
“We didn’t really get out in the open court and get him open,” Clippers head coach Vinny Del Negro said. “Chris just had one of those games. He’ll bounce back the way he’s capable of but no one particularly played great.”
The odds look good for Paul having a bounce-back game in the scoring department. He failed to score in double figures eight times during the regular season and averaged 19.4 points in the following game.
LAST TIME OUT
The Grizzlies outworked the Clippers in nearly every facet of the game, especially on the glass. They outrebounded the Clippers 45-33 including a 17-5 edge on the offensive glass. It was nearly a mirror image of Game 1 when the Clippers hammered the Grizzlies 47-23 in the rebounding department and held a 14-5 edge in offensive boards.
“We’ve got to find a way to get everybody in there,” Del Negro said. “We got back-cut too much, gave up a rebound off a free throw. We gave a few 3-pointers that we didn’t need to give them. It’s just all the little things that we’ve been doing very well we weren’t as effective tonight. Like I said give them credit. We have to regroup a little bit in terms of our overall tempo we want to play on the defensive end and we have to be able to get stops no question but then when that ball goes up, not get back cut, everyone’s got to get a body on people and do a better job creating space.”
|GAME 4 FEATURED MATCHUP: JAMAL CRAWFORD VS. JERRYD BAYLESS
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
Fine Tuning the Offense. After shooting at 47% or better from the field in the first two games, the Clippers offense fell off a bluff in Memphis. They shot just 38.8% in Game 3 and managed just 26 field goals after averaging 39 makes in the first two games. The Clippers were 11-for-25 on shots outside of the paint.
The starting lineup in particular struggled mightily as they scored 47 points on 16-for-40 shooting. Caron Butler was the only starter who shot 50% or better and Lamar Odom was the only other Clipper who attempted at least four shots to make better than 50% of them.
Defense Without Fouling. The Clippers could not get any rhythm going on either side of the ball thanks to constant stoppages. They were whistled for 29 fouls in Game 3 and the Grizzlies made them pay.
“It’s a tough line to walk,” Clippers power forward Blake Griffin said. “Normally you get a feel for it in the first quarter, first couple of possessions whatever it is. For some reason it’s been somewhat difficult to find that line but you know; a lot of double fouls, a lot of fouls down low so you just got to keep searching for it, keep playing hard and try to stay out of foul trouble the best we can but still play a physical game.”
Grizzlies power forward Zach Randolph was a thorn in the Clippers’ collective side as they had no answer for his aggression. He attempted eight free throws in the first half and 10 for the game en route to 27 points in 37 minutes.
“We sort of let them get into the bonus early in every quarter,” Paul said. “They were just shooting free throws. The first half, Z-Bo had more free throws than our whole team. That shows how aggressive they were. Heck I didn’t shoot one free throw so we have to; I have to do a better job of trying to be a little bit more aggressive or something like that because then during the fourth quarter they was in the bonus and every time we fouled they were at the free throw line. They won the rebound battle, the free throw battle, the turnover battle and most of the time when that happens you’re not going to win.”
Through three games, the Clippers have out-rebounded the Grizzlies 120-106 but Memphis holds a 29-28 edge in offensive boards after hauling in 17 in Game 3… In 37 career postseason games, Paul’s three fewest assist totals have all come against the Grizzlies… The Clippers had won nine consecutive games dating back to April 3 prior to Thursday night’s loss, marking the third longest winning streak in franchise history… Butler has scored in double figures in two of the three games this series and is averaging 10.6 points a game… The Clippers were 24-17 on the road this season, tied for the third best road record in the NBA.