Game 2 Preview: L.A. Clippers at Memphis Grizzlies
The Memphis Grizzlies earned home court advantage on the last day of the regular season when they defeated the Orlando Magic for their 11th straight home win. They were set to open their first round playoff series versus an inexperienced L.A. Clippers squad, only a year removed from their historic and unexpected first round series win against San Antonio. And wouldn't you know it? They came out firing on all cylinders. The Grizzlies had nailed 11 three point shots in this game - two more than their season high - and had completely demoralized their opponent; or so they thought. The Grizz took a 58-39 lead into halftime while the crowd waved their towels and wore the arena-provided t-shirts with prie and glory. The third quarter was more of the same as Memphis built a 21 point lead heading into the final period, feeding off of the intense energy their crowd brought to the Fed Ex Forum. The core entering the final period was 85-64, Grizzlies. They even built up a 95-71 lead with just over nine minutes left in Game 1. 24 point lead. Evaporated. Dismantled. The Clippers put together the largest comeback in NBA history to thwart the home team and crowd and steal home court. Demoralized.
Heading into game two, one has to wonder if this epic game damaged the home team's psyche. Can a team really recover from something like this? The Clippers played hard for a grand total of 9 minutes. The Grizzlies thoroughly outplayed, outshot, outdefensed the Clippers for 39 minutes and still came up short. The Memphis players feel as though all they need to do is equal what they did for the first 39 minutes and all will take care of itself.
"There's no magic to it," Gasol said. "We just have to do what we did the first three quarters. If they pressure us...just penetrate and run down the clock and play our game."
That sounds a little like someone is hurting. Everyone came out with the stat that night that there were three teams in NBA history who suffered a loss like this and still advanced to the NBA Finals - giving those Grizzlies enthusiasts a glimmer of hope, like they had God on their side, but in this case it's another NBA team's history. Which means nothing whatsoever.