2012 NBA Playoffs: Why the Grizzlies Are a Hard Team to Match Up Against

Karthik TadisinaSenior Writer IMay 12, 2012

Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph.
Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph.Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

The Memphis Grizzlies have to be one of the most underrated teams in the playoffs this season. They're also unique, because despite the high level of talent on their team that can go off at any given time, there is a necessary balance provided to compete in the league.

After defeating the No. 1-seeded San Antonio Spurs last year as a No. 8 seed, they caught the attention of the NBA as an up-and-coming team that could be one of the top teams in the near future.

This was due to their depth, combination of youth and established veterans, athleticism and the passing ability of their top two frontcourt players.

This year they face the Los Angeles Clippers led by All-Star point guard Chris Paul and high-flyer forward Blake Griffin. However, the Clippers are a talented team but still have a young frontcourt in Griffin and DeAndre Jordan, who are still learning the ins and outs of the postseason.

In terms of matching up, the Grizzlies appear to have one unique advantage versus most teams. This is the passing and shooting abilities of Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol that keep opposing defenses "guessing" and, as a result, "on their heels."

Being able to shoot the ball from the perimeter allows for more spacing and opens up the lane for such players as Mike Conley Jr., Rudy Gay and O.J. Mayo, to cut to the basket.

The Grizzlies lean on Tony Allen to set the tone defensively, as he usually guards the opposing team’s best player. Gasol is also an underrated defender with his size and strength, and can match up with most big men in the league.

With other players like Marreese Speights, Dante Cunningham and Hamed Haddadi coming off the bench, the Grizzlies could be a tough out once again this year.