Grizzlies vs. Clippers: Zach Randolph-Blake Griffin Battle Will Decide Game 5

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Grizzlies vs. Clippers: Zach Randolph-Blake Griffin Battle Will Decide Game 5
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

If Blake Griffin can put an end to Zach Randolph's reign of terror, then this series is as good as over.

With the Los Angeles Clippers and Memphis Grizzlies all square at two games apiece, the clear factor in deciding which team comes out on top has been rebounds.

In the first two games of the series combined, the Clippers out-rebounded the Grizzlies by 26, winning both games in Los Angeles. In the second two games, the Grizzlies, led by monster performances from Zach Randolph, out-rebounded LA by a combined 29 rebounds, winning both games played in Memphis.

Chalk it up to home field advantage if you want, but the Clippers can't count on the Staples Center alone to win their next game.

Zach Randolph, who averaged 25 points and 10 rebounds in the two games in Memphis, must be forced into the foul trouble he suffered the first two games of the series. The man to do that is Blake Griffin, but he has to force the issue.

Griffin, especially in the past two games, hasn't been quite as aggressive around the basket as he needs to be. While Randolph is a respectable defender, he's not nearly as good defensively as Marc Gasol. Griffin has the ability to take over the paint and make Randolph foul him, which would entirely change the dynamic on both ends of the court.

Marc Gasol has been able to manhandle DeAndre Jordan on both ends of the court, and that doesn't look likely to change (Jordan only had two rebounds in Game 4). His movement on and off the ball has been crucial for the Memphis offense, giving both Randolph and Mike Conley Jr. more space to work. But Gasol is only one man, and if Randolph is taken out of commission, the Grizzlies don't have another dominating rebounder to make it a fair fight in the paint.

In terms of a scoring standpoint, Randolph is still the Grizzlies' most important man. Gasol and Conley are capable scorers when the spotlight isn't on them, but neither can carry a team the way Randolph has the past two games.

If Griffin can find any sort of defensive angle or get Randolph into trouble, the scoring just won't be there for Memphis.

In the fourth quarter of Game 4, the Grizzlies outscored the Clippers 33-16. If Blake Griffin is in form, they might need that kind of fourth quarter just to keep things close.

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