Grizzlies Vs. Clippers: I’d Just Really Like to Whoop That Clip

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It’s been a long road trip. Ok, that’s putting it lightly. It’s been an awful road trip. The Memphis Grizzlies have gone 1-3 and have landed themselves as not only the topic of all of their fan base’s conversations but even the national media. It’s hard to not say something about the glaringly obvious issues the Grizzlies are having getting a win. Despite their 4th quarter valiant comeback effort, the loss to the Utah Jazz gave everyone all the more reason to wonder; what exactly has happened to the Memphis Grizzlies? Heading into the Staples Center on the wake of what has been some of the most disappointing Grizzlies basketball we have seen in awhile has me feeling some type of way. Alas, I get the honor of previewing what is sure to be a match up of epic proportions (failure or success).

Tonight the Grizzlies face off against Western Conference rival the Los Angeles Clippers. Usually I love when the Grizzlies play the Clippers. I know it’s going to be an entertaining game; one full of piss and vinegar, maybe one or two wrestling matches and potentially an ejection. Things get dirty when the Grizzlies play the Clippers. But things got dirty when the gritty, grinding, all heart Grizzlies played the Clippers. Right now, as you probably have read about/heard about, the lack of that signature grit and grind is exactly what has the Grizzlies as a hot topic in the NBA. It isn’t really their record that has everyone ready to blow the team up. Just looking at the 3-4 record on what has really been a difficult schedule to start the season doesn’t really immediately give you reason to be gloom and doom. Instead it’s their lack of willingness to fight for the win. It’s the lack of defense. The lack of effort and drive.

It’s not up to me to know exactly how to fix what might be wrong. Assuming I even could pinpoint exactly what is “wrong”. I have quite a few opinions and ideas. However, I’m not going to try and get into that because well, we all know what assuming does. What I am going to say is that I sure hope the Grizzlies can ride the wave of effort that showed up in the 4th quarter of the game against the Utah Jazz all the way to a victory over the Clippers.

Playing the Clippers isn’t going to be easy. It isn’t ever easy. And maybe that’s why Grizzlies fans love it so much. Memphis always plays with a chip on their shoulders against the Clippers. The Clippers always come in to give us a show (even if it is just with their Oscar worthy flopping).

Here’s a quick numbers and pointers break down.

The Clippers are scoring 107.3 points per game so far this season on 48.1% shooting. To break it down a little they are only shooting 27.5% from the 3-point line but a whopping 55.9% inside the 2-point range. They are currently holding their opponents to 41.4% shooting. This has them sitting at the 9th most efficient team in the league.

The Grizzlies are scoring 90.9 points per game on 40.1% shooting (not to depress you any further but this is the worst shooting percentage in the league right now). Defensively the Memphis Grizzlies are allowing their opponents to average 47.0% shooting. They are sitting at 27th in the league at overall efficiency.

With that said I believe the Memphis Grizzlies are capable of anything especially when they are playing with that proverbial chip I mentioned on their shoulders and playing this rivalry game might be exactly what they need to get back into the grind. The Grizzlies always have a good time playing the Clippers. I want to see our guys hit the court and find themselves again. Can you think of better team to do that against? I can’t. #letswinby50

What to watch for tonight:

The Chris Paul/Tony Allen match up. Tony Allen loves to stop Chris Paul. By any means necessary. Remember that kick to face? In case you forget, here’s a quick clip.

Tony Allen is exactly the disruptive force needed to stop Chris Paul tonight. If Tony Allen can force turnovers and sloppy basketball on Chris Paul’s part this can be a major factor that leads to a Grizzlies ‘W’. This might not even matter because Paul is doubtful tonight with a groin injury. I just wanted to watch that clip.**Update: Chris Paul has been upgraded as being probable to play tonight.**

Marc Gasol and Mike Conley. The Marc Gasol and Mike Conley pairing that used to bring us to our feet seems to be lulling us to sleep this year. Well, actually it’s more like bringing us to tears. You get my point. If the Grizzlies are going to win these two have to find a way to plug themselves in as leaders. There is just no way that our offense can find life if the core can’t breathe it in there. Conley and Gasol should be making up the foundation of that core and they haven’t been. Right now the pair is combing for 38.7% shooting. That simply must get better if the Grizzlies expect to start winning games any time soon. Marc Gasol is going to have to play aggressively to disrupt DeAndre Jordan who has been feasting on rebounds and Mike Conley is going to need to dictate the pace of this game.

The Matt Barnes return. Tonight Matt Barnes returns to his hometown and the team he started for last year. Matt Barnes was the spark that shot the Grizzlies to the outstanding 4th quarter against the Jazz. His 11 points, 60% shooting and energy was exactly what the Grizzlies needed to remind them what exactly effort can do. He rallied a team that was down by 21. My hope tonight is that Matt Barnes comes out and plays with the same energy he showed in the final minutes of the Utah Jazz game. The Grizzlies need him to be the 3-and-D guy they brought him in for.

Blake Griffin Must Choke. Blake Griffin has only gotten better. Sorry folks, it’s the truth. Griffin is averaging 29.3 ppg so far this season and doesn’t look like he is going to be slowing down any time soon. Packing the paint, blocking the lob and pestering him will be how the Grizzlies stop the Clippers power forward from having his fill and shooting 59.8%. This is a bit of a scary thought when you couple it with the fact that both Zach Randolph (calf) and Brandan Wright (knee) are questionable heading into tonight’s game. If both big men are out this evening it is going to fall on the shoulders of the young guys to stop Griffin. That might not be the best case scenario but hey, that means some quality minutes of play time, especially for JaMychal Green.

Other injuries: Jordan Adams is out with a knee injury.

Tip-off is at 9:30 PM CST so be ready for another late night. I’ll be cheering at my TV set tonight and getting in a good “Whoop that Clip” chant or two. Don’t lose heart Grizznation because if we do, how can we expect our beloved Grizzly bears not to.

*All stats from &*

Tabitha Smith

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