By battling Zach Randolph in the trenches most of the night, Blake Griffin got a good idea of what playoff basketball entails. Although many of his drives were cut off before they could even begin, Griffin did a good job of capitalizing whenever he was afforded a glimpse at the rim. He could stand to get the ball in more than just straight isolation, but that's not entirely on him.
What happens when Chris Paul can't make easy shots? The Clippers' offense self-destructs. Memphis attacked Paul with traps and help all night, but even when Paul found some breathing room, he failed to convert on a few little bunnies near the rim. Paul did his best to atone for his offensive struggles by leading the comeback, but it was too little, too late.
Paul and Griffin being held down was just about the worst thing that could happen to Randy Foye, as time and time again Foye was handed the ball late in the shot clock in a ticking time bomb-type situation. Foye's improved play lately has come on the heels of straight spot-up opportunities, but tonight he was asked to perform way above his pay grade.
No one does a better job of defending entry passes to the wing and the block better than the Grizzlies, so it's no surprise the Clippers had to labor for all of their half-court scores. The Clippers temporarily found some success with Eric Bledsoe pushing the pace and scoring quickly, but there were too many missed putbacks and layups to overcome in the end.
The Grizzlies defended the Clippers' stars as well as any team has all year and they did it without their best defender in Tony Allen. Memphis seems to be peaking at the right time, and once Zach Randolph is back in shape, it will sport a much more intimidating offense to go along with its suffocating brand of defense. The Clippers might want to avoid them come playoff time.