Hang Time Grizzlies On The Edge

HANG TIME PLAYOFF HEADQUARTERS — The uneasy feelings started around here in Game 1, when the Hang Time Grizzlies squandered that 24-point fourth-quarter lead and allowed the Los Angeles Clippers to snatch a tone-setting victory away from the home team.

Everything that’s happened since, even the one win our Grizzlies managed in this series, didn’t produce the sort of cosmic confidence expected or even seen during last season’s magical playoff run that included an upset win over the top-seeded Spurs in the first round. The same finishing kick that paved the way for that run a year ago has evaporated.

The Grizzlies have been brutal in the fourth quarters of three of the four games played in this series against the Clippers and should not be surprised to find themselves on the ugly end of a 3-1 ledger that sets up Wednesday night’s Grind-Or-Go-Fishing Game 5 in Memphis.

“It’s a shoulda, woulda, coulda deal when you look at the film,” Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley said before Monday night’s overtime loss in Game 4. “Sometimes you just don’t know how we lost. We’ve got to find a way to correct our mistakes because we’re right there. We can still win this series.”

Forget the film young fella.

We’ll just give you the raw numbers. The aggregate score so far in this series is Grizzlies 289, Clippers 284. But the fourth-quarter scoring, on the other hand, is Clippers 87, Grizzlies 58.

The glaring defense down the stretch of these games has been Chris Paul. The Clippers have the player who rises to the occasion repeatedly at winning time while the Grizzlies can’t seem to get themselves together at crunch time.

The Grizzlies have plenty of candidates who are confident they can play the same role, everyone from Conley and sixth man O.J. Mayo to All-Star center Marc Gasol and starting forwards Rudy Gay and Zach Randolph.

But a healthy belief in self doesn’t always translate into tangible results when a game is on the line. And the fact that the Grizzlies have so many guys vying for the role as closer is one of the reasons they’ve struggled to identify the one guy to wear that cape.

The Clippers have no such quandary. They know their roles. That’s why Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins didn’t mind sharing the game plan for Game 5, telling Ronald Tillery of the Commercial Appeal:

“We’re going to try to shut down Chris Paul a little bit. Simple,” Hollins said. “He’s the problem, and we’ve got to solve the problem.”

He’s not the only problem.

The Grizzlies are on the edge right now because that’s where they live late in these games. And that’s not only because they can’t stop Paul, but also because they don’t have someone to reciprocate Paul’s late-game pressure.

As good as Conley has been (he finished with a playoff career-high 25 points in Game 4), he’s not in the same class as Paul. And to expect him to outperform the man many consider the league’s preeminent point guard, is bordering on unreasonable.

Tillery nailed what ails the Grizzlies in his analysis before Game 4 was finished:

… the Griz have faltered down the stretch, partly due to poor decision-making that leads to bad shots, turnovers and defensive lapses.

“It’s mental,” Griz forward Rudy Gay said. “In close games you can’t be tired. You have to play basketball, and play the basketball you know how to play.”

Paul is also giving the Clippers something at the end of games that the Griz are lacking, and that’s leadership. Paul gives the Clippers a clear plan while the Griz look confused about what to do and who should get the ball.

Blame Conley’s curious decisions, Gay’s inability to make plays for others as well as himself, Randolph’s penchant to settle for fade-away jump shots and Marc Gasol’s lack of assertiveness.

“We’re not reacting and playing with our instincts at the end of games,” Conley said. “Last year, we knew what we were going to get down the stretch from somebody and that was Zach. This season, it’s who are you going to give the ball to? Who are you going to rely on? Rudy stepped up and did a good job, especially in (Game 3). We definitely miss that presence Zach gave us last year.”

Randolph is currently being outplayed in this series by Blake Griffin, something that few people saw coming after Griffin struggled to assert his physical dominance in the first few quarters of action.

And in a fantastic series where we’ve had four games decided by 15 points, it’s the team that can finish and the one with the superstar capable of finishing games, that prevails.

Bottom line, the Clippers have Paul.

The Hang Time Grizzlies, of course, do not.


  1. ITS OVER says:

    DAMN people Memphis aint goin nowhere, they got no potential its official,no championship material just playoff seeding until the end of times

  2. jan_279 says:

    Grizzlies fans making excuses…PATHETIC! You’re underestimating the Clippers too much, people! They are the better team right now. PERIOD. The Clippers also have their problems but they found a way to get the series lead. Just shows that the Clippers were the better team for most of the series.

  3. justplayball says:

    ……lets just sum up these grizzfan comments so far…….”LAST YEAR…….LAST YEAR…..LAST YEAR……LAST YEAR”……etc, etc. sound about right??

  4. justplayball says:


  5. justplayball says:

    ……MAN !!! I am sick of hearing about the “GREAT” play of the cubbies …..LAST YEAR….. the ONLY reason they won in 6 was because of a depleted opponent!! Plain and simple!! Now…….when the TRUTH is right before your eyes….. those covering this ‘series’ are STILL talking about LAST YEAR……. WHOOOOAAAA…….”NOBODY” wants to play the grizzlies…..lol….. at least I don’t have to hear that garbage/lie anymore!!

  6. kiddi says:

    zbo is not him self but he will and is giving the griz 12-15 ppg and 7-10 rpg. the griz just need to use there ALL-STAR center marc gasol and there all-star snub rudy gay, put them in the post and let them go to work. o.j. mayo has some how learn to play D og paul and he is a 3’point shooter. why is the ball in conleys hands at the end of the game, rudy gay is a closer and if he is running the pick and roll/pop whit zbo who was the closer last year or going one on one against any of the clippers defenders they are going to get a good shot or a trip to the line where rudy has been great this series.

    • justplayball says:

      …..hey, kiddie……. last year is long gone……. AND without the perimeter defense of SB–(who management thought you didn’t need) you don’t stand a chance against a team that can shoot 3’s…… as well as pick ‘n roll offense………………… { last year, last year, last year…..etc,etc. }

  7. Mtx says:

    They should’ve run a matchup zone against Chris Paul from the beginning of the series. Tony Allen is a phenomenal one-on-one defender, but one good screen and he’s gone. With the matchup zone, you take away his dribble penetration. Clippers don’t have consistent post scoring and outside shooting to counter the zone.

  8. jeryy says:

    ok grizzles is better team but clippers is 3-1 against them, now spurs again is better team but look they we’re swept by the team who has one win againts “inferior team” i would rather wait cp3 beat again another superior team in second round

    • justplayball says:

      ….is that English you’re speaking….can’t really tell…..BUT…..’grizzles’ are NOT the better team…… is math that challenging as well ??? ….. obviously !!!!!! It really doesn’t matter because either team bows out in the next round……..just sayin’

  9. Abhi P says:

    If Miami Heat doesnt work out this year, trade Bosh for Randolph !!

  10. D says:

    All does not matter. Spurs will just beat them.

  11. marko says:

    Coach is on the money: stop Chris Paul. Without his production Clippers don’t know what to do (remember last year?). And here is a simple way of slowing Paul: Unleash Tony Allen on him!!
    Other Clippers guard is Foye/Williams, Conley/Mayo can run after them, but they cannot guard Paul effectively.
    And clutch man for Memphis should be Randolph – remember his 4th quarter shots from last year’s playoffs?

    • justplayball says:

      …..last year, last year, last year, last year, last year, last year, last year, last year, last year………there is an echo in here !!!!!

    • justplayball says:

      …..did you say ‘UNLEASH”……. wow, he must be an all-star, right??…..WRONG……. maybe theyshould let that dog of a coach off his leash/lease…….

  12. Ric_Sr says:

    Memphis needs to trade Rudy Gay for a back up point guard and another shooter. He clearly isn’t a closer on the level of Durant…even though he’s paid like he is. Keep Mayo and get rid of Gay. Run the offense through Marc & Zach. When those 2 draw the defense down low, kick it out to Arenas to shoot or Conley to distribute elsewhere. Simple as that!

    • justplayball says:

      ….he is the only reason why you have won one game…….. you don’t know bball at all…….. possibly the best player on the team….randolph is over-hyped and at the end of his ‘Illustrious” career …….

  13. pep says:

    I still thinks Grizz in 7.

  14. frank says:

    Offense needs to run through randolph. Not rudy gay.

  15. andy says:

    BIGTIME PLAYER – that’s what chris paul is…as simple as that

  16. Jao says:

    Memphis won last year on the strength of their bigs. this year the back court takes more shots than the frontline. when they go away from what made them successful last year, ofc they’ll lose. Rudy Gay and OJ Mayo shouldn’t be the ones getting the most shots in your team. they are proven losers. Rudy Gay most of all has taken all the last shots in this series, and all of them have been difficult, contested, stupid shots. why he is not benched during this time is a wonder. they only need 2 points and this guy keeps shooting threes. fadaway threes at that. fkn loser. i knew that when he returned he’d try a b!tch move like trying to prove he is the man in Memphis. well, he’s clearly not. this should be Zbo’s team and Zbo should be the go to guy ALWAYS.

    • justplayball says:

      ……”Memphis won last year because of”………….. who cares about last year ….besides the grizz, of course….keep living in the past….that feat is not so uncommon these days….ask the bulls……. but the bulls have an injured star you say??? …… sound familar. Like LAST YEAR !! No….. it had ‘Nothing’ to do with the opposing teams injury situation , it was all about the Grizzcubs, and how well their bigs played ….. insert big laugh here!!…… Now ALL can see this team has been over-hyped(on purpose) to stir-it-up……. they are SO good they could not beat the spurs in 4 tries……. Do you need any more examples……… well, here is one more example of REALITY for you …….. clipjoint 3 —- grizzcubies 1……… that says it all in a nutshell…. se ya next year …..GrizZbo !!

    • justplayball says:

      Zach CANNOT handle the pressure of being the ‘Man” so it is “CLEARLY”……. Not his team…….and Never will be.!!

  17. D. says:

    I’m a Memphis fan. They could easily be ahead in the series. The Clippers have been more clutch. I feel like it’ll go to a game 6 or 7 but La will probably win, if Memphis doesn’t play better.

  18. Machiavelli says:

    this series is not about the strength of the clippers, it is more about the state of the Grizzlies, they are not playing well during the most important minutes.

    • justplayball says:

      …..what the H*ll do you mean…….before this series began all anyone(without a brain) was sayin’ was …..”NOOOOOBODY WANTS TO PLAY THE GRIZZ”…… so NOW…it has Nothing to do with the opponent???? Not too “Machiavellian” there….!!

  19. Robert says:

    My take on the Grizzlies is the coach. I just get the feeling that he is just not in synch with his own team. Meaning he has fire power that he is not using correctly on a consistant basis. Sometimes a coach is familiar with a certain style of coaching that does not fit or maximize the personnel that is on the roster. While on the other team defensively 2 of his problems are clearly CP3 and Blake G, I just get the feel that he does not maximize the talent that he has on the team that he is coaching on a consist basis. Give that same team to another coach like a Doc Rivers or the Chicago Coach and you would see what I mean.

    • justplayball says:

      …..doc rivers and ‘the chitown coach’ are your examples of the great nba coaches…….LMAO !!!!!

  20. D says:

    Selfish ball usually can’t win a series. A game maybe, but not four. A few, like the Lakers, the 2011 Mavericks and the 90’s Bulls have done it, but it’s rare. No player in Memphis has the skill to do it. You need to play team ball, like the incredible Spurs.

  21. Gasol is not having a good series thats all and Hollins not using Hadaddi when Gasol is out makes our defense in the paint suffer. Also Paul and Mr Flippa Griffin get too many foul calls even when there is not a foul it is absurd…

    We need to attack the paint and be more aggressive thats how we beat the Spurs last year that is how you win games…

    • statsrfun says:

      grizzlies lead the playoffs in free throw attempts per game and points off of free throws per game

    • justplayball says:

      ….Hey, Loser bron-bron, you’re moniker is an oxymoron……All this over-hyped clown has done is LOSE…. LOST to the Mavericks for goodness’ sake….. And you DO remember when he got to the Finals and was SWEPT by a TEAM!! So, this cr*p about him being a king or a winner is real JOKE!!! VICTOR……not hardly, more like LOSER !!! Maybe(using his Big MOUTH) he can keep kobster from goin’ to NYC and buy him a clowndominimum in South Beach where thy can all play in the same sandbox……..lol………good luck Next Year, clown!!

  22. Willy says:

    Ya and Dallas should be 2 and 2 with OKC right now? Not! Big players make big plays, CP, KD, KB, Spurs!

  23. Boston4Life says:

    We all know the celtics are going to win.

    • justplayball says:

      …..LMAO…….. you are delusional !! Just like the lakerfan, always living in the past….just enjoy your ‘history’…. ’cause that is ALL that you have now….. BOTH teams are second rate AT BEST…… back to the drawing board…. I mean back to the “player auction” with cubes…. “Let me see…… Who do I want to buy next……which team is STUPID enough to give up its best player to me …….AGAIN……. not workin’ out so well these days, huh…… can’t wait for the next auction…….lmao.!!!

  24. Lord p says:

    Clippers the deapest team in Nba…Love the Thoughness of Caron Butler,Probably the best Defender in the clutch(K-Mart) the biggest hustler in Reggie Evans and a surreal Leader and Closer in CP3..!!!

  25. moblitz says:

    The Grizz players are playing hard, no doubt about it. Hollins had a blueprint for last year’s Spurs and he is resting on his laurels. He spends way too much time complaining and taking pot shots at opponents and his own players. He should focus on his game plan. If playing big bodies at every position is the only strategy he has then this series will be over soon, if not already.

    I was hoping for the Spurs this year to have a chance to hand it to Hollins personally. I like that team for playing hard but they are not playing as a team, including the coach.

  26. W/E says:

    clippers are a circus team full of uncosistent role players,CPaul cant do it by himself and most probably IF they get past the grizzlies the spurs will eliminate them.

    • docstone says:

      Oh W/E haven’t you been paying attention CP3 is not alone, there are a few other guys on the court with him, and it’s not if they get past the grizzlies it’s when they get past the grizzlies

    • justplayball says:

      ….Spurs will eliminate either one of the ‘up-and-comers’……. doesn’t matter!!

  27. nickbartlett12 says:

    It comes down to crunch time production and the Clippers have Chris Paul and the Grizzlies don’t. Gotta love what he was able to do down the stretch and in OT last night. Check out my take on it and other Game 4 crunch time heroes:


  28. Dalwin says:

    wow……they are beating on each other and winner got to play Spurs ………What reword

  29. charles says:

    What has been surprising that Griffin is jumping over the power forwards and centers of grizlies…this is a surprise as Memphis is known to be a grind it out team in the inside….they need to continue this. Memphis, Zach and Speights should be outperforming Griffin and Jordan….if they play grizzlies ball….

  30. chris says:

    put a fork in the grizzea. they done.

    add some cheeze stick in oven for 350. nachos served up hot. as hot as the clippeers jump shotz. yall see. clowns be dancin in the street tonight.

  31. Ba says:

    rudy gay just needs to become a better shooter, he’s had the game in his hands during every game. i think zbo is more clutch but he’s just not there this season. Rudy Gay needs to spend time with a shooting coach and become a better shooter. Or they could let OJ mayo be the beast that he really is. tony allen or mike conley have to be on the bench in the 4th quarter so OJ mayo can be that guy in the 4th.

    • justplayball says:

      ….WHAT??? If it wasn’t for the great play of Conley the cubbies would have been swept!!! Play as a team and forget about the nicknames and the star factor……just sayin’

  32. uoykcuf says:

    IF they can win the next game, I say Grizz in 7.

  33. bunbury says:

    this series its still undecided. what I mean is that memphis can still win the series. they could be 4-0.

  34. Fefe says:

    It would be really a great feat to pull off for the Grizz to win this game 5 and series. But I still pick the Grizz in 7 (that was my first prediction).

  35. Sinorsaint says:


  36. Renato says:

    It´s been a fantastic series.The best of this first round.And who saw the game last night has got to be amazed by what Paul did in OT.What a fantastic performance by Paul,shooting over any opponent and scoring.On the other hand,i still feel the Grizzlies are the best team overall,they are always able to close the gap,like they did yesterday on the fourth quarter.But they are always collapsing when the most important time of the game comes.They look a bit nervous, missing some poor choosen shots, and commiting some odd turnovers.I agree with Sekou,it´s being all about leadership on the court.

    • bryce says:

      if the grizzlies are the better team overall then why r they losing 3-1. And if you saw game one you know the Clippers can close the gap just as well as the grizzlies. The better overall team has gotta prove it. you can’t just say they have more talent. look at the knicks. with the talent they have they should be one of the best teams in the league but they’re not. It comes down to who can play the best down the strech

      • justplayball says:

        …he is just another deluded homer, that’s all

      • justplayball says:

        …” it comes down to who can play the best “………AS A TEAM !!! …and it SHOULD always be that way, and would if……

  37. This series is close i think the grizzles will win game five but will lose game 6

    • justplayball says:

      ……our grizzlies????????? whose grizzlies? I thought they were Memphis’ team…… not an ” nba.com ” blogs’ team……WTF