I figured this is as good a time as any to go ahead and post a Game 6 preview for WMC-TV 5. That should give them plenty of time to convert it into a format they can use on-air without attribution. I kid, of course. We here at GrizzGrind.com are thrilled that the story about Jeremy Carroll has gained traction, whether attributed to the proper source or not.
Now that the requisite retaliatory cheap-shot is out of the way, lets get down to business. Friday is a huge day for the #Don'tBluffCity. Downtown promises to be buzzing earlier than an average spring Friday as people gather to prepare for Beale Street Music Fest and more importantly, for Game 6 at FedExForum.
The further into the playoffs we get the less there is to say that hasn't been said a dozen times by more reputable journalists. This isn't a column that will rehash statistics or break down series trends. That has been done so well by folks like Peter Edmiston and Chris Herrington that we wouldn't dare try to offer something fresh. Instead, we're going to offer a big-picture prospective on Game 6 by offering three keys for the good guys:
First, the team has to continue to take care of the basketball. Particularly Mike Conley, Jerryd Bayless and Keyon Dooling. Over the last three games, the Grizzlies point guards have a combined eleven turnovers. That is solid if not spectacular work, particularly when you consider the heavy minutes logged by the trio. Limiting the Clippers possessions - particularly transition possessions off turnovers by the guards - is critical to throttling their run-and-lob style.
Second, Zbo and Marc have to continue to decisively outplay the Clippers bigs. We know Blake Griffin has a bad ankle (allegedly) and DeAndre Jordan's only basketball skill is the uncontested dunk, but it is not just enough for us to match the Clippers down low. We have to dominate. I don't think there is a magic number, but doubling up the Clippers front court in points and rebounds will probably get the job done.
Third, the Grizzlies cannot get hung up on trying to shut down Chris Paul. At a certain point we have to accept that CP3 is going to get his. Let him. If Paul ends up with 45 points and 5 assists, the Clippers do not have a prayer. Paul is most deadly when he is not only scoring (from everywhere) but also setting up teammates for easy looks and corner 3s. There are not many guys on the Clippers roster that are going to create their own shot with such proficiency that it will overcome our trademarked defense. Let Paul do his thing but make him try to beat you all by himself - it is unlikely to work.
There you have it. If the Grizzlies take care of the ball, win the battle in the paint and worry more about shutting down everyone not named Chris Paul, there is a good chance that #GrizzNation will get to enjoy the same celebratory march from the Grindhouse to Tom Lee Park that we did in 2011.
Our job as fans tomorrow? Simple. Sustained chaos. If you are going to be at the game, do your part to make sure the Forum remains one of the toughest places for opponents to play.
Grind on, Memphis.