Chasing Down The Latest NBA News
#4 Memphis Grizzlies (41-25): 93.5 possessions per game, 101.0 points per 100 possessions, 98.9 points allowed per 100 possessions
#5 Los Angeles Clippers (40-26): 92.0 possessions per game, 105.2 points per 100 possessions, 102.9 points allowed per 100 possessions
Team Match-up To Watch For: Memphis’ Pick-and-Roll Defense
The Clippers have no reliable offense outside of pick and rolls with Chris Paul, which isn’t a reliable playoff strategy already, and they are running into a defense that has some great options to throw at them in defense of that set. Mike Conley is second only to Chris Paul in thievery at point guard spot and his pesky defense, especially when fighting through screens, is a huge asset for Memphis’ aggressive defensive gameplan. Go back and watch the way Conley reeked havoc on the Spurs last year. It was brilliant work. And then Memphis has the player with the best hands in the league in Tony Allen to fill the passing lanes and some athletic and quick moves in Rudy Gay and O.J. Mayo to deny kickouts to the three-point line (like they did against the Spurs). Their defense is topped off by Marc Gasol standing tall as an effective anchor in the paint and Dante Cunningham provides some decent mobility off the bench, too. If the Clippers don’t get any lights out performances from Paul, it’ll be tough for them to win.
Individual Match-up To Watch For: Tony Allen vs Player X
Watching Tony Allen is a treat for everyone that loves the game. He plays with an unmatched energy that tends to anger his opponent and the ways he pumps up the already raucous Memphis crowd are hilarious. Even his towel waving on the bench is entertaining. I want to see a little bit of him on Chris Paul in this series but honestly, Conley can hold his own there. Watching Allen play off the ball against a one dimensional offensive player will suffice, though, because he can interrupt an offenses’ gameplan from any position on the floor.
Prediction: Grizzlies in five.