Memphis Grizzlies vs. L.A. Clippers: Postgame Grades and Analysis

Peter Emerick@@peteremerickSenior Writer IIApril 23, 2013

Memphis Grizzlies vs. L.A. Clippers: Postgame Grades and Analysis

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    Chris Paul wasn't about to let the Memphis Grizzlies walk into his arena and steal one on the road.

    Instead of letting the Grizzlies do that, he dropped a game-winning floater over the Grizzlies defense with 0.1 seconds left on the clock, leading the L.A. Clippers to a 93-91 win over a Grizzlies team that wouldn't go away.

    Paul led the Clippers with 24 points, nine assists and four rebounds, and he also scored the final eight points for the Clippers down the stretch. 

    Mike Conley did all he could to help the Grizzlies steal one from Lob City, with 28 points nine assists and two steals, but it just wasn't enough.

    Tony Allen was in rare form as well, with a double-double of 16 points and 10 rebounds on the night. Unfortunately he couldn't step up and lock down Paul when the Grizzlies needed it the most.

    It wasn't a pretty win for the Clippers, but in the playoffs all that matters is being the first to win four games in each series, and the Clippers are well on their way to doing just that. 

Point Guards

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    Mike Conley, PG Grizzlies

    If this game was played in Memphis, there would've been MVP chants for Mike Conley down the stretch.

    Unfortunately, Conley was in Chris Paul's world and the MVP chants were in favor of CP3. 

    With that being said, Conley had one heck of a game with 28 points and nine assists, while shooting 50 percent from the field.

    His defense on Paul was as good as you could expect throughout the game. And while he didn't defend Paul on the last play, his help-side defense didn't bring anything to that last possession. 

    If it wasn't for Paul's game-winner, Conley would've been the player of the game, but he's just not ready to take his game to that elite next level.

    Overall Grade: A-

    Chris Paul, PG Clippers 

    With the game on the line, having scored the Clippers' past six points, Chris Paul took the ball and did what he does best—closed out the game with a floater.

    Paul hit the game-winner over one of the best defenders in the game in Tony Allen, and he did it with the poise of a Hall of Famer.

    Not only did CP3 score the Clippers' final eight points, he also dropped 11 points and added three assists in the third quarter.

    With 24 points, nine assists and four rebounds, Paul had the kind of game the Clippers needed him to have. He also turned the ball over just once, which shows just how well he protected the ball.

    Paul also shot 100 percent from the charity stripe, which was a difference-maker in this Game 2 battle.

    Overall Grade: A+

Shooting Guards

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    Tony Allen, SG Grizzlies

    Tony Allen was ballin' like he was 25 years old again.

    Unfortunately, on the play that mattered the most, he couldn't put Chris Paul on lockdown—allowing him to hit the game-winning floater over him as time expired. 

    Allen had a double-double though, with 16 points and 10 rebounds, and he was an impressive 6-of-9 from the field.

    There wasn't much more Allen could've done for the Grizzlies, aside from swatting Paul's game-winner. He had an impressive, efficient and productive night, it just wasn't enough in the end.

    Overall Grade: B+

    Chauncey Billups, SG Clippers 

    The Clippers would've been wise to just sit Chauncey Billups in favor of Jamal Crawford after the first quarter. 

    Billups had an off night, with just five points on 2-of-8 shooting from the field and 1-of-4 shooting from beyond the arc.

    On a night where the Clippers needed production from guys other than Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, Billups dropped the ball.

    Five points in 23 minutes just isn't going to cut it for Billups as the playoffs rage on.

    Overall Grade: D

Small Forwards

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    Tayshaun Prince, SF Grizzlies

    Tayshaun Prince was the only Grizzlies starter who didn't drop double digits, and he shot the worst percentage from the field (20 percent).

    Prince's lack of production put more pressure on the Grizzlies' backcourt, and while Mike Conley and Tony Allen carried the team, ultimately Prince's lack of production was too much to overcome.

    The Grizzlies will have a hard time winning in the playoffs if Prince shoots 20 percent and puts up double-digit field goals, which he did during Game 2.

    Overall Grade: D

    Caron Butler, SF Clippers 

    Caron Butler had an efficient game, he just wasn't productive enough for the length of the game.

    He had an underwhelming stat line with nine points, one rebound and one turnover.

    The most surprising part of Butler's night was that he didn't shoot the ball more than he did, because he was 4-of-6 from the field.

    With that being said, Butler didn't do anything to hurt the Clippers, and he was physical and tenacious on the defensive side of the ball.

    His Game 2 performance wasn't anything to write home about, but it was what the Clippers needed.

    Overall Grade: B-

Power Forwards

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    Zach Randolph, PF Grizzlies

    When he was guarding Blake Griffin, Zach Randolph looked like he was wearing shoes made of pure cement.

    Luckily he made up for it with his play on offense, ending the night with 13 points on 50 percent shooting.

    With 5:20 left in the fourth, Randolph grabbed an offensive board off a Tony Allen missed free throw and got an and-1 opportunity, which gave the Grizzlies life and led to their late surge.

    When he picked up his fifth personal foul, Darrell Arthur came into the game and gave the Grizzlies the production they needed, with a pivotal three-point play. Because of that, Randolph ended the night on the pine instead of on the court.

    I'm sure he wasn't happy about that, but that's what happens when you foul like it's going out of style.

    Overall Grade: C+ 

    Blake Griffin, PF Clippers 

    Without Blake Griffin's ridiculous first quarter, with 13 points, five rebounds and two assists, the Grizzlies could've opened this one wide open early.

    Luckily Griffin kept the Grizzlies from doing that. 

    With about 8:30 left in the fourth quarter, Griffin cut into the paint and threw down a left-handed slam on Tayshaun Prince that looked like it was going to put the Clippers up for good.

    Griffin and company let the Grizzlies back in this one, but over the span of the entire 48 minutes, Griffin's game was just too much to handle.

    He ended the night with 21 points, eight rebounds and four assists, and he shot 50 percent from the field.

    More impressive though, he shot 60 percent from the charity stripe. Griffin attacked the basket with more power than he has in the past few games, and that's encouraging to see for the Clippers as they head to Memphis and look to close out this series.

    Overall Grade: A-


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    Marc Gasol, C Grizzlies

    Marc Gasol wasn't able to dominate the game like the Grizzlies wanted him to.

    He ended the night with 17 points, seven rebounds, three blocks and two assists. But he shot just 42.9 percent from the field.

    Gasol allowed Chris Paul to do whatever he wanted in the paint, and his transition defense, or lack thereof, was absolutely atrocious.

    What Gasol needs to do better moving forward is spread the Clippers defense by nailing mid-range jumpers early on. If he can do that, the Grizzlies can open up the paint and attack the basket, which is what they do best.

    If he plays like he did during Game 2, the Grizzlies are going to have a much harder time beating an athletic and aggressive Clippers team. 

    Overall Grade: B

    DeAndre Jordan, C Clippers 

    Offensively speaking, DeAndre Jordan wasn't that great.

    He scored just four points on 40 percent shooting, and he was 0-of-2 from the line. 

    What he did best, though, was grab four offensive rebounds and block four shots. Because of those blocked shots, the Grizzlies weren't able to be as aggressive in the paint, and that was a big difference-maker.

    Jordan had a solid game defensively, but offensively he needs to be more aggressive around the rim. He needs to use his ridiculous athletic advantage over Marc Gasol and show that he can dominate with his agility and explosive athletic play.

    Overall Grade: C+

Sixth Man

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    Jerryd Bayless, PG Grizzlies

    Jerryd Bayless must've spent the Grizzlies day off in a time machine, because he reverted to his former inconsistent and inefficient self in Game 2.

    There wasn't much that Bayless did well, except for not turning the ball over all game long. His perimeter and transition defense was sub-par at best and he got manhandled by Eric Bledsoe in terms of physicality when the two matched up.

    Darrell Arthur gave the Grizzlies more off the bench with nine points on 4-of-5 shooting. But it wasn't enough, and that's mainly because Bayless decided to not show up.

    Bayless ended the night with just two points. Yea, it was that kind of night for him.

    Overall Grade: F

    Jamal Crawford, SG Clippers 

    Someone was clearly upset that he didn't win the Sixth Man of the Year award. 

    Jamal Crawford was the only Clippers bench player in double digits, with 15 points. What was even more impressive than that production alone was the fact that he shot 60 percent form the field.

    Crawford brought production to the floor just when the Clippers needed it, and he wasn't forcing shots. Instead he was being opportunistic with the ball.

    He also was a force to be reckoned with on the defensive side of the ball with three steals. He pestered the Grizzlies all game long, and his play was a major reason why the Clippers have a 2-0 lead over the Grizzlies as both teams head to Memphis.

    Overall Grade: A-


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    Grizzlies Bench

    The biggest difference-maker in Game 2 was the lack of production the Grizzlies got from their second unit. 

    While you can't really expect much from the Grizzlies' hodge-podge bench, accounting for just 11 is inexcusable.

    Without Darrell Arthur's five points near the end of the game that really got the Grizzlies back in this one, the Grizzlies' bench would've been atrocious—even though those late points were a product of lazy Clippers defense more than Arthur's play.

    Their bench was a combined 5-of-12 from the floor, and aside from their 11 points, they didn't really do anything. Luckily Arthur's play late in the game saved their grade from being a flat out "F."

    Overall Grade: D+

    Clippers Bench 

    The Clippers' second unit exploded at just the right time. Everyone not named Jamal Crawford came alive at the start of the fourth quarter, right when the Clippers needed to pull away from the Grizzlies. 

    Even guys who didn't put up much on the stat sheet, like Ronny Turiaf, had a significant impact on the game on the defensive side of the ball. 

    Thirty bench points between Eric Bledsoe, Matt Barnes and Jamal Crawford was exactly what the doctor ordered for the Clippers in Game 2. 

    They dominated the bench battle with the Grizzlies, and their production was efficient and well-balanced. With their bench playing this well, the Clippers are going to be a very difficult team to beat.

    Overall Grade: A