The Grizzlies are down 2-0. he Clippers took the first two on their home court. Tonight,t he series goes to Memphis, where the Grizzlies will try to re-assert themselves, and head back to Los Angeles with the series tied 2-2. So, what goes on next? Do the Grizzlies build on the momentum of a solid-performance-in-a-losing-effort on Monday, or do the Clippers move in for the kill, and dispatch the Grizzlies once again, only in quicker fashion than they did last year? As far I can tell, there’s two ways things can shake out:
1. The Grizzlies Take Charge At The Grindhouse
Picture it now; the Grizzlies take the court at Fed Ex Forum for Game 3 with the fans screaming as loud as ever. There’s an electric feeling in the building. The Grizzlies take charge right away, amassing a 10+ point lead before the end of the first quarter. Conley continues to get to the basket possession after possession, Tony Allen renders whoever he’s guarding useless, and forces several bad turnovers. The Clippers briefly cut into the Grizzlies lead early in the third quarter, but it doesn’t last, as the Grizzlies deliver the knock out punch when they go up by 20. They take Game 3 easily.
Game 4 ends up being much more difficult, but nonetheless, they pull it out, officially making this a series. Then, after dropping two in a row, the Clippers face a ton of pressure going into Game 5. Having almost won game 2, the Grizzlies know they are capable of winning at Staples Center. Game 5 ends up being the biggest slugfest of the series. tempers flare, at least one player on each team gets tossed of the game (I’ll say Z-Bo and Blake both get ejected late in the fourth quarter). The Grizzlies play their usual brand of ugly defense, and eek out a brutal win, going up 3-2 in the series. Then, a thoroughly deflated Clippers team makes Game 6 interesting for about a quarter and a half before throwing in the towel. The Grizzlies respond to a 2-0 deficit by winning four straight, and moving onto a second round match-up with the Oklahoma City Thunder.
2. The Clippers move in for the kill
The atmosphere at the grindhouse tomorrow will be itense, and that could give the Grizzlies a significant edge, but keep in mind, if the Clippers win, the series is over. And they know that. they’ll likely go into this game with a fair amount of swagger of their own, knowing that eeking out a victory tonight, however small, will essentially guarantee them a spot in the next round. With that in mind, the Clippers come out firing. Chauncey Billups continues to be more useful than any of us expected him to be, hitting several threes in the first quarter. Then, with the Clippers up by 5 mid-way through the second quarter, Blake throws down a dunk that shuts the entire crowd up. Finally, questionable offensive foul on Z-Bo (with the Grizzlies already down by 10) leads to dual technicals on Z-Bo on Coach Hollins. Chris Paul hits two free throws, putting the lead at 12. The Grizzlies meekly attempt a comeback in the third quarter, but Paul takes over, hitting shot after shot and leaving the Grizzlies without a chance. Clippers lead series 3-0.
In Game 4, the Grizzlies know it’s over. Early in the second quarter, they take a 10-point lead while the crowd goes mad. Everybody has that cheerful ‘at least we won’t get swept” feeling. The Clippers, however, are having none of it. Midway through the 3rd quarter, a barrage of Jamal Crawford threes ties the game. The Grizzlies try their best to stay in the fight, but knowing that even if they win, they have almost zero chance of winning the series, they still struggle. the Clippers take over in the fourth, and finish their sweep of the Grizzlies.
Obviously, this aren’t the only ways the series could shake out. But really, what it comes down is that the grizzlies either come back and win this series or they don’t. these are just how I see each of their those scenarios working out. Hopefully, you don’t have to ask to know which one I’m rooting for.