The Memphis Grizzlies and Los Angeles Clippers played a wild, physical first half, which has favored the Grizzlies so far to the tune of a 58-53 lead. The game was more of a foul-off than basketball as the two teams combined for a stunning 32 fouls in the opening 24 minutes, much to the dismay of the players and coaches from both teams, as well as the fans.
Both teams benefitted from unexpected scoring in the first half, with the Clippers getting 18 points from Matt Barnes and Tony Allen putting up 16 for the Grizzlies. But the real star of the half was Chris Paul, to nobody's surprise. The LA point guard scored 16 points on 7-of-10 shooting and added five assists to keep the Clippers in the game.
Can the Clippers Stun Memphis Fans Again?
FedEx Forum was roaring from the start and while the Grizzlies didn't give their fans reason to explode, they did more than enough to keep the crowd in the game. It took a while for either team to get going offensively so things got quiet not long after tip, but the game was always close and it picked up later in the quarter to keep the buzz in the arena.
It's clear that there is some apprehension in the crowd. Whenever the Clippers string together a few buckets they get quiet, as if they know a storm is coming, but the Grizzlies have done enough to keep them in it so far.
Will Blake Griffin Be Effective?
Simply put, no. Griffin has just four points and two rebounds at halftime as he struggles with his sprained ankle. The normally high flying Griffin hasn't looked to get on the end of an alley-oop, hasn't run the floor well and has been exposed some on the perimeter defensively too.
It's abundantly clear that Griffin isn't near the same player he normally is and Vinny Del Negro has noticed too; Griffin has played just six minutes so far.
Can LA Stop The Gasol/Randolph High-Low Game?
The Clippers have done a decent job at least slowing the Grizzlies' high-low game. LA has fouled Memphis a ton, resulting in 30 first half free throws so the Grizzlies haven't had to run much offense or exploit the Clippers' struggles in the high-low. After all, why run it when the Clippers are just going to send you to the free throw line anyway?
But aside from the fouls LA has done a good job limiting Marc Gasol's impact altogether. He has just one shot attempt, an 18-foot jumper, and a lot of that has to do with all the extra defenders the Clippers are running at him.