And with a statement victory on Sunday both Los Angeles teams advance to the second round. This is the first time that both residents of the Staples Center have advanced to round two in the same year. The Clippers got an infusion of talent when a lucky trade fell in their lap. The Grizzlies were coming off a year where they shocked the world. Let’s break down this thrilling series.
The Regend continues in Los Angeles
Reggie Evans is really good The best offseason acquisition for the Clippers was Chris Paul. Surprisingly though, the second best one may have been Reggie Evans. In the regular season he averaged less than 14 minutes a game. In the playoffs that was upped to 22 minutes a game. He was the second best player for the Clippers, best on a per-minute basis, and even came through in the clutch.
Chris Paul is really good His first round performance quite the same as last year’s. That said, Chris Paul was the reason the Clippers made the playoffs and their best player in the playoffs. What’s scary, is that history has shown us that Chris Paul is capable of even more. We’ll have to see if he breaks out in the second round.
Where did Griffin and Jordan go? The Clippers were a three-headed beat of Paul, Jordan, and Griffin. Yet, Griffin and Jordan both played far below their normal levels in round one. Here’s hoping it was a fluke, or first time jitters. The Clippers will need them to have any hope in round two.
Kenyon Martin and Nick Young were ok Both of these players were bad pickups. With Kenyon Martin the Clippers bet on age and injury. With Nick Young they bet on potential that had no backing from the stats. In round one Martin put up a great game seven and had an average performance. Nick Young, who is typically a negative player, managed to at least play at a “not terrible” level. Had these players kept up their regular season routine, this would have been a shorter series.
Why oh why did the Clippers pick up Caron? Last season when Caron Butler went down it was actually a good thing for the Mavericks, who had a much better Marion on the bench. The thing is Butler was once a good player, but hasn’t been close in several seasons. He was bad in the regular season and was downright terrible in round one. The Clippers have him on the books for around $8 million a season for two more years. No good comes from this.
Randolph and Gay are no Randolph and Battier
Randolph isn’t back Zach Randolph had a crazy mid-life crisis when he joined the Grizzlies and somehow became a great player. He was a big reason for their playoff success last season. The injury bug hit Randolph though, and this season he has not been the same player. Losing a top big hurts a lot.
Gay and Mayo aren’t good Both of these players hover in the average zone. The problem is the team thinks they are stars. In the playoffs unfortunately these two were the worst players on the team to suit up more than 100 minutes. Cap wise Gay hurts a lot and O.J. Mayo may be costly if they re-sign him. Here’s hoping the Grizzlies can somehow sweep both out.
Gasol and Conley are good These two were the bright spots on the team. During the regular season these two are the one-two punch for the Grizzlies and the playoffs were no different. Neither had that much support though and sadly they couldn’t hold off the Clippers.
This first round battle was very interesting. Both teams have some good players on the top but have had some questionable management moves that have constructed the rest of the team. Sadly, the lack of Randolph was enough to tilt this to the Clippers. As a consolation prize the Grizzlies can point out that they in fact outscored the Clippers. As for the Clippers, I don’t suspect they will be able to get outscored by San Antonio and still advance.