Grizzlies upset by lackluster opener
"We've got to be a little pissed off at ourselves," Grizzlies center Marc Gasol said. "But we also need to keep things in perspective and know that we have a big game [on Monday], and we know how they're going to play."
Gasol and the Grizzlies have cause for self-criticism. They surrendered 112 points in 85 possessions to the Clippers, far and away their worst defensive performance of the year.
In addition, Los Angeles outrebounded Memphis 47-23, another outlier for a Grizzlies team that ranked second in the NBA in overall rebounding rate during the regular season.
"We have to toughen up," Grizzlies guard Tony Allen said. "Obviously it's time to make an adjustment. That adjustment would be boxing out, not letting [the Clippers] get those extra possessions and basically just executing our offense down the stretch."
Coach Lionel Hollins and several Grizzlies players also cited the team's inability to contain the Clippers' pick-and-roll. Memphis is one of the stalwart defensive teams in the NBA, ranked second overall in defensive efficiency.
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"I was angry at the film session," Hollins said. "It's a concerted effort. It's a big [man] helping and a guard getting over. The guard can't run into screens and leave the big handing, and the big can't be too loose, and when you know it's not a screen, you need to get back to your man."
The mastery of these fine points is usually the Grizzlies' calling card, but Memphis repeatedly found itself outwitted by the Clippers.
"We got drilled in every facet of the game [Saturday] night," Memphis point guard Mike Conley said. "[The Clippers] really were efficient in the pick-and-roll. We weren't able to keep them away from the paint."
Asked if the Clippers beat the Grizzlies in the mental game, Conley conceded they had.
"They did," Conley said. "They came out and punched us in the mouth early. I think you could see it from the jump. They had a different energy level than we did. We just have to come prepared mentally better for the next game."
The Grizzlies and the Clippers have now met 12 times over the past 12 months, including a competitive first-round series last postseason, which the Clippers won 4-3. The two teams will meet in Game 2 on Monday night in Staples Center before the series moves to Memphis for Games 3 and 4.
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