Los Angeles Clippers: Game 5 Loss Serves as a Wakeup Call

William TruaxContributor IIIMay 11, 2012

Rudy Gay making a jumper against Randy Foye
Rudy Gay making a jumper against Randy FoyeAndy Lyons/Getty Images

The Memphis Grizzlies defeated the Los Angeles Clippers 92-80 last night in front of a hungry Memphis crowd.

Fueled by “The Grindhouse” mob of more than 18,000, Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol combined for 43 points on 14-of-25 shooting in a heated contest. Besides the productive night from both big men, the Grizzlies played suffocating defense and held the Clippers to a 37.1 shooting percentage.

Memphis’ performance on Wednesday was reminiscent of their form in last year’s playoffs when they defeated the San Antonio Spurs in the first round and pushed the Oklahoma City Thunder to seven games.

Although Clippers fans should be disappointed that Los Angeles failed to close out the Grizzlies, last night’s sloppy play might be exactly what the Clippers needed…a wakeup call.

Chris Paul and Co. have averaged 36 rebounds and made only 65 percent from the charity stripe through five games. In addition, the absence of any half-court offense reared its ugly head yesterday when the Grizzlies made it extremely hard on CP3 to do much of anything.

Without the former Wake Forest standout performing his usual tricks, his team looked confused and more often than not, that confusion led to a bad shot attempt. The team settled for long jumpers all night and failed to reach the rim on a consistent basis.

Even when the 24-point Grizzlies lead was whittled down to six in the fourth quarter, it still did not look like the Clippers had a chance to win. Luckily, the team that shares an arena with the L. A. Lakers had a 3-1 series lead.

With all that being said, the Clippers find themselves one win away from a matchup with the Spurs. If Los Angeles puts up numbers like that against San Antonio, they might win one game because of CP3 and his brilliance.

The Game 5 performance by Los Angeles was a forgettable one, but hopefully Vinny Del Negro and Co. realize that to win in the playoffs takes not only talent, which the Clippers do have, but success on the boards and making more than 65 percent of your FTs.    

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