LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS (58-26) at MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES (56-28) Sportsbook.ag Line & Total: Memphis -4.5 & 179.5
The Grizzlies were blown out of Game 1 by a 112-91 score, but played much better defense in Monday's Game 2, and nearly pulled out the victory, losing 93-91 after Chris Paul made a last-second floater. That gives L.A. nine straight victories (5-3-1 ATS) during a streak that has seen the team score 104.8 PPG on 50percent FG and 36percent threes. Memphis is happy to return home, where it is 32-9 SU and 23-16-2 ATS (59percent) this season, including 14-1 SU (8-7 ATS) in the past 15 games. But that one SU defeat came to the Clippers, 91-87 on April 13. Los Angeles is a solid 24-17 SU on the road this season, but just 20-21 ATS. The Clippers are 13-7 SU (11-8-1 ATS) in the past three years versus Memphis, which includes a 5-1 SU mark (4-2 ATS) this season. Los Angeles is also much better with two days' rest, going 14-3 SU (12-4-1 ATS) in this scenario, compared to the Grizzlies' 10-2 SU record, but subpar 5-6-1 ATS mark after a couple days off.
The Clippers have had a tremendous series offensively with 102.5 PPG on 51.3percent FG, but they shot terribly from three-point range in Monday's Game 2, making just 2-of-15 threes. But it has been the defense that has been the difference in this series, limiting Memphis to 91 points in both games and holding a decisive 87-61 rebounding edge in the two games. The Clippers produced a league-leading 9.6 steals per game during the regular season, but have less than half of that (4.5 SPG) so far in the series. PG Chris Paul has been the star of the series with 23.5 PPG (57percent FG), 8.0 APG, 3.0 RPG and 1.5 SPG. He's committed just two turnovers in his 69 minutes of action. Four other Los Angeles players have also averaged double-figures so far this series. PF Blake Griffin has 15.5 PPG, 6.5 RPG, 3.5 APG and 1.5 BPG, while SG Jamal Crawford has knocked down 14.0 PPG on 11-of-22 shooting. Two other Clippers players have been even hotter from the floor, as PG Eric Bledsoe has 11.5 PPG on 10-of-13 FG (77percent), while SF Caron Butler has 11.0 PPG on 10-of-15 shooting (67percent). C DeAndre Jordan has scored a total of only seven points (3-of-6 FG), but has 16 rebounds in the series, and posted four blocks in Game 2. The one player that had a poor performance Monday was SG Chauncey Billups, who scored just five points on 2-of-8 FG with a team-worst minus-11 rating. In Game 1, Billups tallied 14 points and a +14 rating. Although the L.A. starters combined for a minus-33 rating on Monday, the six bench players posted a stellar +43 combined rating.
Despite the pedestrian point totals, the Grizzlies have actually shot pretty well in this series, making 46percent FG despite a poor 7-of-23 three-point clip. Their defense has been outstanding at FedEx Forum this season, holding visitors to a mere 87.0 PPG on 42.7percent FG and 31.8percent threes. And despite getting outrebounded, points in the paint are nearly even in this series at 96-94 favoring the Clippers. If the Grizzlies are going to get back in this series, PF Zach Randolph has to stay out of foul trouble, picking up five personals in each of the first two games. That has limited him to 13.0 PPG and 6.0 RPG in the postseason, numbers well below what he did against L.A. in the regular season (14.8 PPG, 12.0 RPG). PG Mike Conley has admittedly struggled to keep Chris Paul in check, but he was still able to score a playoff-career-high 28 points in Game 2, and is averaging 20.0 PPG, 7.0 APG and 2.0 SPG for the series. C Marc Gasol has also had a strong offensive series with 16.5 PPG, but has just nine rebounds in the two games combined. SG Tony Allen was a monster on the glass Monday with a game-high 10 boards to go along with 16 points on 6-of-9 shooting. Starting SF Tayshaun Prince has been dreadful this postseason, scoring just eight points on 3-of-15 shooting. PF Darrell Arthur had some key buckets during his team's fourth-quarter comeback on Monday, finishing with nine points (4-of-5 FG), but had the worst rating on the team (minus-11).