John Mills, 92.9 FM ESPN's official Grizzlies blogger, blogs about his experiences
behind the boards as on-site engineer at every home game.
2012 Grizzlies Playoff Picture
by John Mills,posted Apr 23 2012 2:58PM
Well everyone, it has just about been decided. We will play a team in L.A. whether it be the
Clippers or the Lakers (most likely the Clippers) Memphis will, in all likelihood, be the 5th
seed in the Western Conference. The only way that will change is if the Clippers go 0-2 and
the Grizzlies go 2-0 in the final two games of the season which would flip flop the seeds for
the two teams.
So for mathematical reasons, lets just assume the Grizzlies will play the Clippers in the first
round of the playoffs.
So first off, Chris Paul is really, really good. That is widely accepted at least, and he is going
to be a handful for Mike Conley to defend, and impossible for Gilbert Arenas to man up with.
CP3 averaged 36 minutes a game with the Clippers this year, so that's only gives the Grizzlies
about 6 minutes of game time that Mike Conley can safely rest on the bench. Maybe a guy like
Quincy Pondexter, or Pargo/Selby can jump in for a couple of minutes to give Mike some more
rest, but it's going to be scary for Grizzlies fans to see anyone but Conley D-up on Paul. In my
opinion, the Clippers with fly on the wings of Chris Paul this series, and if the Grizzlies can shut
him down, the Grizzlies will win the series.
Chris Paul X-Factor: Will we see Tony Allen on Chris Paul? If Conley cannot handle him, the
answer is yes.
Next we have Blake Griffin, a fan favorite for the first year he was in the NBA, but then Blake got a
Virus, THE FLOPPING VIRUS!!!!! Everybody hates a flopper, and Blake has become a bona fide
one if I've ever seen it.
Griffin is really talented, but also really annoying. I think that a combination of ZBo, and Marc Gasol should be enough to shut him down, even if he flops a lot. Griffin can out power anyone on our bench, maybe besides Haddadi.
Why don't we talk about Hamed Haddadi for a second. The progression this guy has made this season is really incredible. Just think about Haddadi from last year, and compare him to the one we have today. I don't immediately clench up and worry as soon as he checks in the game. It's not uncommon for him to have 6+ rebounds in 5 minutes of action. And he doesn't look as awkward around the goal as he has in the past. I can actually think of him as a guy that can give the Grizzlies 5 good playoff minutes per game. And that's huge for this team.
When you look past Griffin and Paul, the Clippers are pretty sparse on offense.
Randy FoyeSG/PG This is what you call a glue guy. He averages about 11 points a game, but can go off for 24 like he did last night against the Hornets. O.J. Should be able to handle this guy, and TA would shut him down.
DeAndre Jordan CThis guy is not an offensive powerhouse, but he can host some block parties. Don't worry about him shutting down Gasol, it's not going to happen. The Grizzlies are going to likely run more offensive sets with Gasol or ZBo against this guy. He could be the weak link in the Clippers starting 5
Coran Butler SF Butler just suffered a hip contusion, and might sit out the first game or two of the playoffs, keep an eye on this..
Kenyon Martin SF If Butler is out, Martin will get more than his 20 minutes a game, but he is a bit long in the tooth, this being his 11th season in the Association. Of course on the other side of that coin, experience goes a long way in the playoffs. I just cannot see Kenyon Martin making much of a difference in the series, and I know he isn't going to slow down Rudy Gay.
Nick Young SG Young averages about 14 points a game this season, but not much else. In the past month his high in scoring was 19 and his low was and 0. With a lot of 8's 11's and 12's in between. I dont imagine the Grizzlies will have much trouble with this guy, but you never know. He is capable of 20 points.
This is going to be a fun series, and after this compacted season, the NBA playoffs are going to be wild. Look for a lot of analysts to have Grizzlies-Clippers as the best First Round match-up to watch.
My Prediction: Grizzlies win in 6
mayne da grizz gots dis. bring it cp3! ye nev' know what hit him. grizz/heat final ya heard.
Obviously I don't want to put too much stock into just one game, but if you look at the last time the Clippers and Grizzlies played on April 9th at FedExForum, which is essentially the only time the Grizzlies had a full line-up (even without Allen in that game), the early difference that lead to a Memphis 11 point lead at the half was the fact that Blake Griffin was forced to sit with 3 fouls early in that 2nd quarter. It was obvious to me that Griffin never got back into the flow of the game in the second half (even though he ended with 37 minutes).
As much as I agree that first and foremost our plan has to focus on containing Chris Paul (especially on the break), I think it is a very likely scenario that the smaller athletic bigs for LA will be in constant foul trouble with our highly skilled and dominate front line. The Grizzlies depth and overall skill level is also a decided advantage that will likely prove too costly for the Clippers to compete in 7 games.