Los Angeles Clippers at Memphis Grizzlies (-3.5, 177)
Clippers lead series 2-1.
The Memphis Grizzlies attempt to tie their Western Conference series with Los Angeles when they host the Clippers on Saturday in Game 4 of the best-of-seven series. Memphis recovered from two losses in Los Angeles to post a 94-82 victory in Thursday’s Game 3 and played with a higher level of aggressiveness. Clippers point guard Chris Paul seeks to bounce back from a performance in which he had more turnovers (five) than assists (four).
Paul was upset with himself after the contest as the fourth-seeded Clippers opened the door for Memphis to get back into the series. “They made some good adjustments and now it will be our opportunity to make our adjustments,” Paul said. “Game 4 will be a big game for both of us. We know we need this game so we can go back home and have an opportunity to close it out.” The fifth-seeded Grizzlies were glad to avoid a 0-3 hole but know there is plenty of work to do. “We haven’t done anything yet,” guard Tony Allen said. “We’ve won one game. There is a Game 4. We’re not even too happy about it. We just have to focus on Game 4 and take care of business.”
TV: 4:30 p.m. ET, TNT, Prime Ticket (Los Angeles), Sport South (Memphis)
ABOUT THE CLIPPERS: Los Angeles averaged 102.5 points in its two victories and never got into the flow in Game 3 while shooting 38.8 percent. Paul had eight points on 4-of-11 shooting but wasn’t the lone player to have a subpar outing. Sixth man Jamal Crawford had 10 points on 3-of-10 shooting and backup guard Eric Bledsoe missed all four of his shots after going 10-for-13 over the first two games. The Clippers committed 18 turnovers with the usually reliable Paul being the biggest culprit. “It’s uncharacteristic of us,” Paul said. “I mean especially me. I had five turnovers and our turnovers led to 17 of their points.”
ABOUT THE GRIZZLIES: Power forward Zach Randolph had a monster game with 27 points and 11 rebounds in Game 3 after totaling just 26 points and 12 rebounds in the first two games. It was the type of performance Memphis has come to expect from a player who had 45 double-doubles in the regular season. “I definitely wanted to come out and be aggressive,” Randolph said afterward. “They’ve been double-teaming, triple-teaming me. So just go fast, hit a couple jump shots and open it up. Most definitely, I wanted to come out and be aggressive.” Allen also had a fine game with 13 points and nine rebounds, falling one board short of his second straight double-double.
* Grizzlies are 4-1 ATS in their last five games overall.
* Under is 4-1 in Clippers’ last five road games.
* Under is 5-0 in Grizzlies’ last five home games.
* Under is 5-0 in the last five meetings in Memphis.
1. The Grizzlies have won the battle of the boards in each of the past two games after Los Angeles had a dominating 47-23 edge in the opener.
2. Clippers F Blake Griffin had just two rebounds in Game 3 and is grabbing just five per game in the series.
3. Memphis swingman Quincy Pondexter had 13 points in Game 3 after totaling just five in the first two contests.
Oklahoma City Thunder at Houston Rockets (1.5, 207)
Thunder lead series 2-0.
The Houston Rockets weren’t given much of a shot of upsetting Oklahoma City in the first place and the odds will become nearly impossible if they don’t defeat the visiting Thunder in Game 3 on Saturday. However, the Rockets' odds of winning Game 3 became a lot better Friday. Oklahoma City point guard Russell Westbrook underwent surgery for a torn meniscus in his right knee. The team said that Westbrook suffered his injury in the second quarter of Game 2 against the Rockets on Wednesday and be out for the remainder of the playoffs. Houston lost the first two games of the Western Conference best-of-seven series and the eighth-seeded Rockets are in must-win mode after falling three points short in Game 2. Top-seeded Oklahoma City let a 15-point, fourth-quarter lead get away before sealing the 105-102 win.
The Thunder struggled with Houston’s lineup and strategy revisions in Game 2. Rookie guard Patrick Beverley moved into the starting lineup and contributed 16 points and 12 rebounds while going toe-to-toe with Oklahoma star Russell Westbrook. “I thought the lineup gave them a little issue,” forward Chandler Parsons said. “When we space the floor like that, they can’t guard us. I think we showed that and proved that we can score on them.” Houston also had 18 offensive rebounds and had a 57-40 overall edge on the boards and Thunder coach Scott Brooks wasn’t thrilled with the overall performance. “We won the game so we’re happy with that,” Brooks said. “We’re not saying we’re satisfied but we’re happy. We did a lot of good things, but we also have to understand that they’re really good.”
TV: 9:30 p.m. ET, ESPN, Fox Sports Oklahoma, Comcast SportsNet Houston
ABOUT THE THUNDER: Oklahoma City stars Kevin Durant (10-for-26) and Westbrook (10-for-25) had trouble shooting in Game 2 as the Rockets played a zone most of the contest. The defensive alignment also forced the Thunder into several uncharacteristic turnovers. “It’s not easy. We haven’t seen it much during the year,” guard Thabo Sefolosha said. “When a team throws a zone at us like this, we try to keep the ball moving, keep bodies moving and really try to attack the paint. I think this is where the weakness is. We’ve got to do a better job at driving the ball and then maybe kicking it out.” Taking advantage in the interior didn’t happen in Game 2 as Houston had a 50-30 edge in points in the paint.
ABOUT THE ROCKETS: Whether or not Houston has point guard Jeremy Lin available will be decided prior to Game 3. Lin missed the second half of Game 2 and underwent an MRI exam on Thursday that revealed he has a bruised muscle in his chest. Lin hopes he can play but his optimism was tempered by the fact he was unable to shoot the basketball on Thursday. “I really don’t know because this is something that should heal quickly but right now I’m not there yet so I don’t know when I will be (able to play).” Lin was 4-of-14 shooting for 11 total points in the first two games.
1. Houston G James Harden had 36 points in Game 2 and is averaging 28 points and 8.5 rebounds in the series.
2. Thunder F Serge Ibaka has nine blocks in the two games while averaging 14.5 points and nine rebounds.
3. The Rockets are 18-of-71 from 3-point range through two games.