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Lob City Highlight of the Night
“He knew it was coming and there was still not a thing he could do about it” – I could not have said it better myself.
An atrocious fourth quarter coupled with a couple of late defensive lapses cost the Clippers this game and allowed the Magic to snap their 10 game losing streak. They went just seven for 20 in the fourth quarter while allowing the Magic to go 11 for 21. In addition, after allowing teams to shoot just 27.0 percent from beyond the arc the previous three games, the Clippers allowed the Magic to shoot 44.0 percent. That really has been the one common theme across all of Clippers’ losses and close games: poor perimeter defense. Opponents are shooting 44.3 percent from long range in loses compared to 33.2 percent in wins.
Tonight the Clippers kick off a three game road trip against a team that no one wants to face in a seven game series, the 24-11 Grizzlies. The Grizzlies have the second most efficient defense in the league in large part due to their two big men, Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol. Each of them have a defensive rating below a 100 and are going to be a great match up against the Clippers’ big men.
For the Clippers to replicate the results from opening night, they are going to need to be just as efficient as their 51.4 percent shooting in the first game. They'll also need to limit the Grizzlies’ offensive rebounds; Memphis had 17 in the first game. In that first game, the Grizzlies were not able to capitalize on second chance opportunities and only went 33 for 86 (38.4 percent) from the floor.
On offense, the Grizzlies are about average, ranking 14th in offensive efficiency. Also, as a team, they are not a great three point shooting team at only shooting 34.8 percent. They do, however, have two shooters in Quincy Pondexter and Wayne Ellington who are both shooting above 41 percent from long distance.
For the Clippers to win tonight, they will need to do three things: limit second chance opportunities, protect the perimeter, and Chris Paul is going to need to prevent Mike Conley (second in the league in steals with 2.38 per game) from picking his pocket. Regardless of the outcome, this game is a potential playoffs preview and should not be missed.
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