The Memphis Grizzlies will try to even their Western Conference quarterfinals series with the Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday in Game 4 at the FedExForum.
The Grizzlies defended their home-court on Thursday with a 94-82 victory. After a heartbreaking loss in Game 2, when Chris Paul scored the winning layup, the Grizzlies played the great defense they have all season. Memphis led the NBA in opponents' scoring during the regular season.
The defense was and is led by center Marc Gasol, who had 16 points and eight rebounds on Thursday. He was named the NBA's Defensive Player of the Year this week and helped hold the Clippers to 38.8 percent shooting in Game 3.
Fellow big Zach Randolph was also spectacular in Game 3 with 27 points and 11 boards.
"We go as they go. They clogged up the paint and do work and feed off of each other," said Memphis guard Tony Allen. "That's what trickled down the bench to the starters. We go as they go. If we can keep up like that throughout the series, we'll have our chance."
One of the huge defensive efforts in Game 3 came against Paul. He only had eight points on 4-for-11 shooting. In fact, Paul had more rebounds (6) than assists (4) and didn't attempt a free throw.
"We didn't make any adjustments, we just played better," said Memphis head coach Lionel Hollins. "Chris Paul is a great player. No matter what you do, he is going to figure out a way to get where he wants to go. I just think that he didn't make as many shots as he has made in the past and we got a couple of turnovers on him."
Paul struggled, but has a different mindset already for Game 4.
"I've just got to be more aggressive," Paul said. "I played 30-something minutes and didn't shoot one free throw. I've just got to wait and see. I don't ever know what's going to happen before I get into a game."
Blake Griffin led the Clippers in scoring with 16 points. Matt Barnes (12) and Jamal Crawford (10) both had double figures off the bench and Caron Butler (10) and Chauncey Billups (11) also cracked the 10-point mark.
Another problem for the Clippers on Thursday was turnovers. L.A. committed 18 turnovers in Game 3, which led to 17 points for the Grizzlies.
"It's hard to run if you don't have the ball," said Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro. "It is hard to play with any type of tempo if you don't have the ball. So rebounds, we turned the ball over too much, we ran the clock too much, and that is what's going to happen."
But the whole key is Paul.
"It makes it easier for everybody when he's aggressive," Billups said. "And that doesn't mean scoring or shooting that just means being aggressive, getting in there and drawing a double team and kicking [out]."
Game 5 is scheduled for Tuesday back in Los Angeles.