NBA Playoffs 2012: What the Los Angeles Clippers Need to Improve on for Game 2

Bryan KempContributor IIApril 30, 2012

MEMPHIS, TN - APRIL 29:  Chris Paul #3 of the Los Angeles Clippers dribbles the ball while defended by Mike Conley #11 of the Memphis Grizzlies the in Game One of the Western Conference Quarterfinals in the 2012 NBA Playoffs at FedExForum on April 29, 2012 in Memphis, Tennessee.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Last night was a historic night for the Los Angeles Clippers, coming back from a 27-point deficit to upset the Memphis Grizzlies in Game 1. Through three quarters, the Clippers were getting dominated in every aspect of the game.

In Bart Scott's words, "they couldn't stop a nosebleed."

Their defense was terrible, giving Memphis open shots and letting Gasol and Randolph get great position in the post. As the lead continued to grow and Caron Butler leaving the game with a hand injury, it was almost certain that this was going to be a blowout.

But all of a sudden with only two starters in the game, the Clippers started to chip away at the deficit.

Nick Young, Reggie Evans and Eric Bledsoe were the catalysts to this historic comeback. It easily was the greatest comeback I've ever witnessed in an NBA playoff game, but I could really only celebrate it for a little bit.

I started thinking about how badly the Clippers played the first three quarters and how Memphis looked like the better team the whole night. Losing the second starter of the season in Caron Butler is going to be a hard thing to replace.

Nick Young is going to have to play a bigger role like he did in the second half of Game 1. There's no question that Young can score, but he's going to have to step up his defense if he's matched up against Rudy Gay.

The Clippers are either going to have to go with a smaller, but quicker lineup with Young in, or a bigger lineup with Kenyon Martin at the small forward to contain Gay. 

What needs to improve the most is the interior defense on Marc Gasol. For some reason, I cannot think the Grizzlies forgot about Gasol in the second half even though he was getting great shots or distributing the ball to open shooters.

DeAndre Jordan isn't big enough to body up Gasol and the Clippers are going to have to confuse Gasol with double teams in Game 2 if they want to disrupt his game. I don't see the Grizzlies forgetting about Gasol next game. 

Blake Griffin looked nervous in the first playoff game of his career. He was forcing shots in the first half and was totally out of sync. Griffin played a good second half, but needs to put together full games if the Clippers want to get past the Grizzlies. 

Chris Paul aka CP3 was also lost in the first half of the game and the Clippers need him to step it up if they want a chance. The CP3 we're used to seeing was the one we saw in the fourth quarter, distributing the ball to open shooters and taking the ball when the game is on the line. 

Does anyone know what happened to Randy Foye?

I haven't seen Foye play this badly in a while and the Clippers need someone outside hitting the three, if they want space to open up for Griffin in the post. He's stepped up all season with the absence of Chauncey Billups, but disappeared in Game 1.

We shall see what happens in Game 2, but the Clippers need to work on their defense because when they started bringing it in the second half, it opened up the floor for them.

Their half-court offense isn't the greatest in the league and they need to get out and run to be successful.

I see this being a grueling series that will wear down both teams.