The Los Angeles Clippers lead a close game at halftime of Game 2 in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs against the Memphis Grizzlies, 50-44. Blake Griffin has 15 points for the Clippers, and Jamal Crawford buoyed the Clippers' offense early in the second quarter with a handful of electrifying plays. Crawford had 13 points at the half on 6-of-6 shooting.
Previewing Game 2, SB Nation's Drew Garrison found three keys to the game if Memphis wanted to even the series Monday night.
1. Memphis' pick-and-roll defense
The Clippers love the pick-and-roll, and the pick-and-roll loved them in Game 1. Los Angeles was 10-of-14 from the field on attempts off pick-and-roll plays in Saturday's win, according to Garrison. The Grizzlies seemed to have adjusted Monday, looking more like the team considered to be one of the best defenses - maybe the best defense - in the league throughout the season, as they tightened up and rotated faster. Yes, Chris Paul is going to make plays happen despite what any five players do - even Marc Gasol, whose defensive prowess is well documented - but the Grizzlies kept Paul and the Clippers mostly in check during the first half, or at least forced Griffin into more post-ups and the Clippers into more jump shots.
2. Mike Conley's shooting
The Grizzlies seemed to have accepted that they aren't going to do much of anything from the perimeter, so at least they didn't try. Knowing is half the battle. After a 5-of-12 performance from 3-point range on Saturday, Memphis was a mere 2-of-5 from the perimeter in the first half of Game 2. Conley was 1-of-3 from deep and 5-of-10 overall, scoring 16 points. It stands to reason the Grizzlies will have to figure out how to score more points at some point. Conley was their only scorer in double figures through 24 minutes. Marc Gasol and Tony Allen each had seven.
The most befuddling aspect of Memphis' Game 1 performance was its job on the boards. The Clippers won the rebounding battle 47-23, and Memphis had a total of four offensive boards in the entire game. That's no way to win a playoff game. The Clippers were still better on the boards in the first half Monday, but not by as wide a margin; Los Angeles was up 18-13 on the glass. Memphis still struggled under its own basket, though, with only one offensive board in the first half.