Grizzlies Big Men Ground And Pound Their Way To Game 6 … And Game 7?

HANG TIME PLAYOFF HEADQUARTERS — We won’t bother asking what took the Hang Time Grizzlies so long to figure this out. All that matters now is that we’ve all see it in action and have seen the results.

When the Grizzlies ground and pound, playing through All-Star big men Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph, they look like a completely different team against the Los Angeles Clippers.

Sure, they still have to deal with a Game 6 in Los Angeles and that pesky win-or-go-home scenario all teams face when they trail 3-2 in a best-of-7 series. But they reached Game 6 by leaning on Gasol and Randolph, listening to the children (or at least Randolph’s daughter) to stave off elimination in Game 5 last night.

If they want to see a Game 7 back on their home floor, they must continue to do more of the same. Because as good as Rudy Gay, Mike Conley and the rest of the Grizzlies’ perimeter operators have been all season, you win games in the paint in the playoffs. Trying to beat the Clippers that way is what led to the 3-1 deficit — well, that and Chris Paul and Blake Griffin outplaying them during critical stretches in the first four games.

But with injury concerns for the Clippers’ two best players, Paul has a hip flexor and Griffin a knee strain, the Grizzlies have a chance to refocus their attention inside and attack where the Clippers are most vulnerable. (Paul has already said he’ll be ready to go for Friday night, while Griffin’s status will be determined after he is examined again today.) The Clippers’ big men (Griffin, DeAndre Jordan, Kenyon Martin and Reggie Evans) cannot match the Grizzlies’ bigs if that’s where the battle line for Game 6 is drawn.

You saw the way the Clippers got frustrated in Game 5 when the physical nature of the game cranked up and their five technical fouls were as costly as any set we’ve seen throughout this postseason. A lip-busting affair usually favors the team with the guys who deliver those blows best, guys who enjoy a good cage fight every now and then. And Gasol and Randolph have shown they can deliver those goods with the best of them.

If anyone needs proof, pop in the tape from that first-round upset of the Spurs last season.

If there is a chance that Griffin, the Clippers’ best low-post force, is in danger of not being able to go in Game 6 … the blood will be in the water for Gasol and Randolph.

Judging by the initial reactions from the Clippers, there is some serious worry about Griffin’s status, as’s Kevin Arnovitz reported after the game:

 The Los Angeles Clippers came face-to-face with their worst-case scenario on Wednesday night, and it sent shivers up and down their bench.

“It felt how the Bulls probably felt when [Derrick Rose] went down,” Clippers guard Randy Foye said after the Clippers’ 92-80 Game 5 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies. “Because if someone jumps and comes down like that and you see them tugging at their knee, that’s not a good sign.”

That someone was Blake Griffin, who was lying beneath Los Angeles’ basket, gripping his left knee.

Events had already turned ugly for the Clippers. They trailed 75-58 with 1:31 remaining in the third quarter and had converted one field goal in the preceding six minutes. In that same span, the team had been hit with a barrage of technical fouls, four in all.

Griffin took the ball off a pick-and-roll on the left side from Mo Williams and readied himself to attack Marc Gasol. Griffin took a couple of dribbles with his right hand, crossed over to his left, and as he elevated, Gasol bodied up to his right shoulder, sending Griffin tumbling to the floor.

“It was just kind of a weird play,” Griffin said. “My foot got caught under me and I kind of came down wrong. It was scary at first.”

Griffin wasn’t down more than a few seconds before the entire Clippers bench emptied onto the court from the opposite end.

“I told the guys, ‘Get up, one of our guys went down,'” Caron Butler said. “Not just one of our guys, but one of our superstars. It’s important that we go down there and check on our brother. He got up. It was a tough play. He got banged up pretty bad, but he’s a soldier. He got back out there.”

Griffin or not, the Grizzlies have only one option to see this series alive beyond Friday night. They have to ground and pound in Game 6 the same way they did in Game 5.

They do that, and basketball lovers everywhere will get what we want — at least one Game 7 from the first round.

“There’s no point leaving home if we don’t know our way back,” Grizzlies guard O.J. Mayo said. ” We can’t look at Sunday because we have to make sure we get back home after Friday night.”


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  2. Countess says:

    It’s simple. The Grizzlies need to just run the Clippers out of the Gym like they did in the first half of game 1 and 5 except they don’t allow a come back. Then come home and win game 7.


    Mike take control of his team. Push the ball.

    Run the offense through Marc and Z-Bo

    Zach and Marc should take it to the Clips bigs and try to foul them out. Blake will probally have mobility problems if he plays and I wonder how he and Chris will hold up. We should take advantage and go at them in every direction on offense and defense to keep them moving (pick and rolls, etc)

    BLOCK OUT YOUR MAN ON EVERY SHOOT. Look for your man and block out rather than watching the ball in the air.


  3. Neutral says:

    This series has been very interesting so far, if clippers loose friday, memphis takes it. Meaning friday is a game 7 for the clips meaning Blake and Chris will play, having home court advantage and needing an other man to step it up (foye or bledsoe) the clippers will most likely get this one, if their big man do a good job on the boards. If grizzlies win it in L.a it will have to be with the help off Speights, and Cunningham they will be quite dangerous for los angeles. What clippers need to do is get Memphis in early foul trouble, having the small guards going up the lane, and let butler work on defence and not trying to finish plays for them.

  4. clips58 says:

    it will be nice to see clippers finish the grizz hopes at home..

  5. Dan says:

    Go Grizzzzzzzzzzz

  6. (NOT) Fanboy says:

    Clippers have the lead this series because Chris Paul is UNBELIEVABLY clutch. Like he literally makes every single big play for his team down the stretch, and it’s infectious. Heck, he’s even getting Reggie Evans to do clutch work. Every single game, the Grizzlies slap them silly for twenty minutes, then the Clippers start hitting every single friggin shot they take and make a comeback. Like seriously, ast night, Mo Williams and Chris Paul almost made a comeback by hitting contested fadeaways like eight times in a row between the 3rd and fourth! the grizz need to keep their focus for just 12 more minutes, and they walk away with this one.

  7. NBA fans says:

    stop talking tr*sh guys.. at least this is the most interesting, “worth watching”, first round serie of 2012 playoff. NBA is about business and lets face it, the business is defintely more profitable with the Clipps rather than the Grizz…. anyways, Spurs VS Heat in the final 😀

  8. Roy says:

    The Grizz are the better team and deserve to win this!! Cmon Memphis show these little clippers whos boss!

  9. Wayne says:

    hey LA Floppers!! The refs called the game the same way they called game 3 & 4…This time the Grizz got the calls…STOP Crying!!

  10. ddddd says:

    This is the clippers first chance at the show in what??? 8 ish years??? The clippers are talented enough to compete at the show, but the griz have a year up on them. As long as the griz don’t do anything stupid, they should beat the clippers at this point. The post game of the clippers involves the great Blake Griffin, and two players that on most teams would be on the bench at this point in their careers, and the one trick defensive pony Evans whom…. if you had a team that could cover up his offensive weaknesses it would be great, however beyond Griffin, there is no other player that even begins to fit that description in a Clipper uniform. KMart would have been close, but he is now showing his age. With that being said, the lakers screwed everything up for their staples center little brothers by committing highway robbery at the trade deadline this year with Sessions and Hill. Otherwise the matchups would have been different and the Clippers would have had an easier matchup. Kudos to the lakers for that highway robbery by the way. Point being, if the grizz have it figured out, and by the sounds of it they do, it will be a very interesting Spurs Grizz rematch for the 2nd round. The clippers have next year.

  11. Des says:

    Belizeboy is either trolling or stupid. Probably both.

  12. Greg Jackson says:

    The M-Town Grizzlies are gonna win especially with their best big (Griffin) with a seriously injured knee…..Which healthy legs is required to play low-post defense

  13. Snap says:

    Grizzlies are the dirtiest team in playoffs so far… But somehow reff just let them play. On the other hand as soon as someone touches them, its a foul. I don’t mind games being physical, but reffs should call fouls the same way on both ends. Coming over the top for a rebound is not physical, its a foul. Moving screen is a foul its not physical. When Blake dunks, Zibo has two hands on his chest, what’s so physical about that – its a foul… etc etc… AND Chris Webber is very unprofessional. Comentators should be neutral and not root for one of the teams. Bottom line is, if reffs call a game the same way, grizzlies don’t stand a chance.

    • uoykcuf says:

      Oh my, and I thought kobe fan boys are the dumbest, it’s offical LA fans are the dumbest of all.

    • nate says:

      I don’t know what game you are watching but you obviously don’t understand the game of basketball. It is perfectly legal to keep your hands straight up while an offensive player comes at you. It will NEVER be a foul unless the defensive player moves into the offensive player or the defensive player lowers his arms on top of the offinsive player. And no it doesn’t count when Blake gut checks you and you fall over him… I believe that’s an offensive foul. Plus, this clips team is the biggest flopping team in the NBA. If you just touch Blake with your pinky, he’ll act like you murdered him and fly into the stands. Just like Charles Barkley said, Blake will get a wake up call soon and be injured for doing his stupid flopping; becsuse that’s all he knows how to do. He has no basketball game at all. No post game, no jump shot period, only dunks. CP is the only “real player” they have but he’s the culpret of the flopping. He’s an expert at it.
      So no you are completely wrong saying the Grizz are the dirtiest team in the playoffs. In fact, the Clippers may be the dirtiest team becsuse they actually have the “dirtiest player” in the NBA, according to an article published by SI from several NBA players. I rest my case

  14. DW says:

    The Grizzlies aren’t playing “dirty” or overly physical….the Clippers are simply flopping. Did you catch Reggie Evans two acting jobs last night? How about Mo Williams crumbling to the floor with no defender around after shooting a three-pointer?

  15. jbusa1 says:

    Sekou, you’re supposed to be a journalist, not a cheerleader. Very unprofessional piece.

  16. Belizeboy says:

    The Grizzlies are basically fouling by bumping hard into the Clippers. Hope the karma comes back to both Zach and Gay for the foul play they are doing.

  17. I think the grizzles are going to win the series with the injurys to the clippers

  18. Drew says:

    From Day 1 the Grizzlies were the team to beat in this series. And they still are. Chris Paul and Randolph are the x-factors. Randolph is still shaking rust off and some excess weight, Paul is dealing with an inferior team that he has to carry.
    If the Grizz win Friday, they win it at home.