How the Clippers managed to squeeze out a win against Memphis with Blake Griffin only getting eight points and four rebounds is amazing.
The Clippers offense looked stagnant and incapable of producing quality looks in the half court set, but when the dust settled they found themselves advancing to the second round to face San Antonio.
This was hands-down one of the most violent playoff games I’ve ever seen. To say the refs let them 'play' is like saying Amber Rose is mildly attractive. This was a game where you better have a bloody nose or a broken arm to get a foul call.
On more than one occasion the replay would show defenders hand checking the man with the ball with two hands to the body, and often one ending up near the opponents neck. And if it’s that violent up top, you know down low it was brutal. It’s a good thing the Clippers brought warriors like Reggie Evans, DeAndre Jordan, and Kenyon Martin to this battle, because strength was all that mattered underneath.
In fact, the bench for the Clippers was the story of the game.
The Clipper bench scored all the points for the Clippers in the 4th quarter up until the last three minutes of the game. Nick Young went for 13, Kenyon Martin had 11 points and 10 rebounds, Mo Williams had nine points, Eric Bledsoe had eight points, and Reggie Evans had nine rebounds, all off the bench. That’s a total of 41 points and 23 rebounds from the Clipper bench.
In comparison, the Memphis bench went for 11 points and 12 rebounds. The first team of Memphis outplayed the first team of L.A., but the Clippers' second team was so strong they overcame the deficit.
Memphis was lead by Rudy Gay and Marc Gasol that both had 19 points. One Grizzly that was noticeably missing from most of the game — and the last few critical minutes — was Zach Randolph, who only had nine points on 3-12 shooting.
The Clippers now march on to face San Antonio. The Spurs must be grateful to see L.A. emerging from this first round blood bath. Memphis upset them last year in one of the few No. 8 over No. 1 seed first-round playoff victories ever. The matchup problems the Spurs struggled with against Memphis last year still largely exist. The matchups with the Clippers are just as interesting, but benefit San Antonio far great.
CP3 and Tony Parker will likely have off-setting roles in the series, as both possess amazing quickness and can produce offense and defend. The Clippers will likely mount a group defense against Tim Duncan utilizing Jordan, Evans, and Martin at times. The Clippers don’t have an obvious solution to Manu Ginobili who could have a big series, but the Spurs don’t have an obvious stopper for Griffin either.
This should be a good series, but my prediction: San Antonio’s ability to produce points both in a set offense and in transition will lead to their winning the series in 5 games.
Photo Credit: AP
Michael Brouillet is the lead basketball writer for CraveOnline Sports. You can follow him on Twitter @mikebrouillet.