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Clippers And Grizzlies Go At It Again In First Round Of Playoffs

Posted by Craig Parsons on 4/21/2013 7:36:19 PM

The Los Angeles Clippers defeated the Memphis Grizzlies in a grueling seven-game first-round playoff series last spring. The two teams meet again in the 5-versus-4 matchup in the West.

2013 NBA Playoffs: Western Conference First Round
(5) Memphis Grizzlies vs. (4) Los Angeles Clippers

Why Memphis Will Win

When people in the online sports betting legal realm tackle this series, they’ll realize that the very thing that can hurt the Grizzlies can also help them. The flip side of the fact that Memphis can’t score very regularly against the Clippers is that Los Angeles doesn’t figure to score at a high rate against the Grizzlies. You can legitimately knock Memphis’ offense, but the Grizzlies have gotten better on defense this season, to the point where they can expect to disrupt the Clippers’ attack to an even greater extent than they did a year ago in the postseason.

The addition of Tayshaun Prince as a wing defender gives Memphis a lot of length, with Tony Allen also providing the kind of defensive stopper who can clog passing lanes and carry out difficult assignments against talented scorers. Memphis could really elevate its level of performance on defense, enough to make a difference in this series. Conley – though outclassed by Paul at the point – doesn’t need to think that he needs to outplay Paul in order to help his team. Conley just needs to make enough of a contribution that Memphis will have at least some perimeter offense to complement its low-post offense.

As long as Conley holds his own against Paul, especially on offense, and makes himself useful at both ends of the floor, the Grizzlies stand a good chance of winning this series.

Why Los Angeles Will Win

Poker games turn on numbers, and the Clippers simply have Memphis’ number. The Clippers won Game 7 in Memphis last spring, defeating the Grizzlies in a contentious first-round playoff series even after losing Game 6 on their home floor in L.A. The Clippers know that Memphis forward Zach Randolph has consistently gotten the better of Los Angeles forward Blake Griffin in individual combat, but the Clippers generally manage to outflank the Griz at the other four positions on the floor, chiefly at point guard, where Chris Paul has far more answers – and poses far more problems for the opposition – than anything Mike Conley can offer for Memphis.

Those who care for basketball betting and not long-term football betting at this time of year should also realize that Memphis – not just in this series, but on a general and more wide-ranging level – just doesn’t possess formidable perimeter shooters. Yes, a team has to be powerful and authoritative near the glass in some way if it expects to win an NBA title. The Miami Heat are something of an exception to this line of thought, but not completely. LeBron James gets to the rim on a regular basis, and he plays strong denial defense near the rim in tandem with Dwyane Wade. The larger point, though, is that Miami has so much superstar power that it can get by without an elite center.

Memphis, owning a strong center-power forward combination in the persons of Marc Gasol and the aforementioned Randolph, is so bereft of scoring punch on the wings and at the point. The Grizzlies need to have enough perimeter shooting to complement their inside game, but they haven’t been able to find it against the Clippers, and they didn’t find it in the 2012 playoffs. Can Memphis really change the equation this time around? History suggests that one should doubt the Grizzlies instead of trusting them.

Who Will Win?

The Grizzlies will once again put up a fight with their great defense, but this time, the Clippers will host Game 7 if it happens. Memphis couldn’t win Game 7 on its home floor in 2012, but that’s what the Clips will do in 2013.

NBA Betting Pick: Los Angeles Clippers In Seven Games

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