Lionel Hollins backs Chris Paul
MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Memphis coach Lionel Hollins backed off a comment he made on Monday night when he told a TNT sideline reporter that "Chris (Paul) does a good job of flopping."
"Flopping was the wrong word to use," Hollins said. "At that moment, I couldn't think of a better word. It was a first-quarter interview on national TV, but I retract that word. But he's good at drawing fouls and putting you in a position where he'll get you behind him and see you. He'll stop and make you run into him. Chris is just a great player."
Flopping was the wrong word to use. At that moment I couldn't think of a better word.” -- Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins on Chris Paul
Told of Hollins' remark after the Clippers' 101-97 overtime victory, Paul brushed it off.
"I don't care what he's talking about," Paul said. "He's got a team over there he has to worry about."
Despite Hollins' about-face, Memphis guard O.J. Mayo persisted in his criticism of what he perceives as a trademark strategy of the Clippers, who lead the series 3-1 ahead of Wednesday night's Game 5 in Memphis.
"Both teams are trying to play physical, but one team is a little better at acting than the other team," Mayo said. "Those guys do flop. They're great players. It's working. They're getting to the free-throw line. They're able to put their opponent in foul trouble. If that's what it takes to get the job done, I guess we all need to start doing it."
Paul has maintained his steadfast denial that flopping exists as a tactic. Asked whether the Clippers had gotten into the Grizzlies' heads, Paul was dismissive.
"I don't know and I could care less,"Paul said. "We don't go out there with the objective or game plan to get in their heads. We want to win the game."
In contrast to Paul, Clippers forward Blake Griffin admitted that, in a playoff series especially, his team will more readily try to sell foul calls to officials.
"I think so," Griffin said. "It's one of those things where every play means a lot. You never know what one play can do, so you're making sure you're getting every possession you can."
Griffin's teammate, big man Reggie Evans, was even more candid in his admission that posturing on foul calls plays a part in the postseason.
"If you can sell a call and get away with it, why not do it?" Evans said. "It's all a part of the game. It's always the one who it doesn't work out in their favor -- that's the one that's always complaining about it."
Evans disagreed with the characterization of Paul by critics.
"I don't think he's flopping," Evans said. "He's not the flopping type of guy, in my opinion. I think he really gets fouls. You think of a flop, you think of something like what (Pau) Gasol or (Danilo) Gallinari do. That's a flop. But Chris is getting fouled."
Evans has been cited as one of the Clippers' most egregious offenders, and he hardly deflected the accusation.
"People say I flop a lot," Evans said. "I pick my moments. One thing about these referees: They do a good job of knowing who's high on the radar when it comes to flops. They do a good job of making the right calls. They've been letting it be tough out there. It's been real tough, real physical, so they've been letting us play. A lot of times people have been flopping, but they haven't called the flops. They've been on-point with it."
Over the course of the series, the Clippers have been whistled for 25.3 personal fouls per game, while the Grizzlies have averaged 24.8. Memphis has attempted a playoff-leading 30.8 free throws per game to the Clippers' 27.8.