PREGAME REPORT | APRIL 30, 2013
Tipoff: 7:30 p.m. PT | STAPLES Center | Los Angeles, CA | Game Notes »
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LOS ANGELES – Game 5 is not a so-called “must-win” but in many ways it is.
Through four games of the Clippers first-round series with the Memphis Grizzlies both teams have held serve on their home court. On Tuesday night, with the series tied at two games apiece, the Clippers back in the friendly confines of Staples Center will try to move within one game of eliminating the Grizzlies and advancing to the conference semifinals for the second consecutive year.
“That’s why you work so hard for home court,” Chauncey Billups said. “If we were facing this situation and we had two games left in Memphis, one at home, then I’d say the pressure would be on us. But the pressure’s not on us.”
Jamal Crawford agreed with Billups, saying that despite losing twice at FedEx Forum, pressure has not mounted on the Clippers, who have won six in a row at home including the first two games of this series.
“We may have had pressure at the beginning of the series because when you start at home, you’re expected to win,” Crawford said after practice Monday. “They’ve won the last two games and they did it in convincing fashion last game, but up until that point we’d won six out of the last seven times. They made adjustments.”
LAST TIME OUT
It was a reversal of fortune from Game 1, when the Clippers owned the Grizzlies on the glass and were propelled by the home crowd’s energy. Memphis got 24 points and nine rebounds from Zach Randolph and 24 points and 13 rebounds from Marc Gasol and their starting unit outscored the Clippers starters, 88-40. Still, the Clippers led at halftime and hung around long enough to enter the fourth quarter down four.
The Grizzlies rolled from there, using a 19-5 run to open the period and matching the Clippers’ 21-point victory in Game 1 for the largest margin of defeat in the series.
Head Coach Vinny Del Negro summed up the game and the series: “It really comes down to rebounding the basketball, second-chance points and not turning it over and in the fourth quarter making plays.”
|GAME 5 FEATURED MATCHUP: CARON BUTLER VS. TAYSHAUN PRINCE
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
Corralling Gasol and Randolph. The Clippers were out-rebounded, 90-61, in Memphis and gave up 22 second-chance points in Game 2. Most of that damage was done by Gasol and Randolph, who had 41 rebounds in the two games.
“Obviously, Marc and Zach have hurt us,” Del Negro said. “The first couple [of games] they got in some foul trouble because we were attacking them. So, we’ve got to get back to that.”
One of the slight adjustments the Grizzlies made in the past two games was running the offense a little bit more through Gasol in the high post. Del Negro has often called the duo the best high-low tandem in the NBA.
It was something Chris Paul talked about briefly after practice Monday.
“It probably would be impossible to find another big man combination like that in the league,” Paul said. “They’re like two old school big guys.”
Energy. According to Del Negro, energy plays have made the difference in the series.
“The rebounding battle is a lot of the energy,” Del Negro said. “The tempo of the game is a lot of the energy. They tried to pressure us a little bit, took us out of some things and we were on the shot clock a lot. All those things we can control, but it starts with us on the defensive end, have a physical presence there, making sure we’re in our coverages, and just locking in.”
Those plays went in the Clippers’ favor in the first two games and going home could help get them back to their aggressive mentality.
“It’s been interesting, whoever has won the rebound battle has won the game,” Crawford said. “I think when you’re scrappy and aggressive in that sense you usually come out on top.”
The team with home court advantage in a best-of-seven series that is tied 2-2 is 114-33 all-time (.776)… The Clippers were 3-1 in the regular season following a loss of 20 points or more… Blake Griffin is shooting 81% from the foul line (18-for-22) in the series… Crawford has scored in double figures in 21 of his 27 career postseason games, including all four games this series… Despite the massive rebounding edge in the previous two games for the Grizzlies overall, DeAndre Jordan has only four fewer rebounds than Gasol in the series while playing 67 fewer minutes…
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