It’s getting old. Watching the Los Angeles Clippers lose to the Memphis Grizzlies is getting old.
Monday night’s 106-102 loss to the Grizzlies marks the fifth straight defeat the Clippers have suffered to Memphis dating back to the playoffs last season in which LAC dropped four straight games. It’s paramount that the Clippers approach each contest against the Grizzlies with focus, as potential playoff opponents around the league are studying the blueprint which the Grizzlies have laid out to beat Los Angeles. They need to fix the glaring flaws the Grizzlies have exposed, and there is one in particular.
I understand it will take time for Doc Rivers’ new defensive style to set in, but at this point in time I am not sure if it will even make a difference on the interior for the Clippers’ big men.
Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol have terrorized the Clippers, and last night was no exception and the Grizzlies duo tallied a combined 49 points and 24 rebounds. Gasol was a rebound and two assists shy of a triple double. Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan both racked up four personal fouls, and Jordan’s fourth resulted in Gasol hitting the game clinching and-one.
Once again we go back to what Matt Barnes said last week, the Clippers need to get tougher, and more specifically Blake Griffin. Nothing makes post players happier then knowing they will have the oh-so resilient Blake Griffin guarding them for a night.
Last night, Zach Randolph did what he’s always done against Blake Griffin, eat him alive. Z-Bo turned in a classic 26 point, 15 rebound performance that we’ve all come to expect from him when he’s got Griffin on him. The Los Angeles Clippers have played the Memphis Grizzlies well over 20 times in the past two seasons and we’ve yet to see any defensive improvement on the interior… It’s time to get some help. There are too many Western Conference teams with dynamic offensive front courts, DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin have had their opportunity to prove their worth defensively, and have not met the standard needed to contend for a title. The problem is obvious, let’s think about some solutions.
Trade For Omer Asik: Sorry DeAndre, I have given up on you. Your whole purpose is to be productive on the glass, and stop the opponents’ big men, and when up against elite big men it’s never pretty. Asik wants out, and a Jordan for Asik flip would be a pretty fair deal.
Minus dunking, these guys are pretty much the same player, I trust Jordan a little more offensively and I trust Asik a little more defensively. This trade will never happen, but someone in the Clippers front office needs to take a hard look at the tape and realize Jordan isn’t getting it done.
Toughen up Blake Griffin: Zach Randolph makes Blake Griffin look completely incapable of playing any kind of defense whatsoever. Due to Griffin’s athleticism, it’s assumed he’s a good defender, which is a fallacy.
Randolph, Pau Gasol, Dwight Howard, Chris Bosh, Serge Ibaka, Andray Blatche; damn even Mason Plumlee have eaten him up this year. How has this not motivated Blake to become a better defender? To be completely honest, for someone who is considered an elite player, his ability defensively is an embarrassment. If Griffin really wants to become a superstar in this league, he needs to realized greatness is not just measured by offensive output.
THROW REGGIE BULLOCK ON POWER FORWARDS!!!!!!!!: My play-Reggie Bullock campaign is making it’s latest stop in this piece. The Clippers are pretty thin cap wise, so going out and signing a good interior defender is not an option. Beef up Reggie Bullock and throw him down there and let him mix it up.
This is the reason the Clippers drafted him, I know it sounds insane, but after seeing this guy play several times last year, I’m sold: he can defend basically anyone. He’s long, athletic, smart, and doesn’t commit dumb fouls, an action which Griffin and Jordan partake in frequently. I know he’s negligent offensively, but for a team 1st in total offense, and 28th in points allowed, this could add some stability defensively.
The Los Angeles Clippers’ one major flaw is defense, and the Memphis Grizzlies expose this more so then any other team in the league. It is clear now that the Clippers interior defense cannot continue their current methods if they plan on contending for a title and it will be interesting to see if they will make a much needed adjustment to improve the defense.