The Clippers need to punch out the visiting growling Grizzlies or else?

Interviewing CP3 in one of the most media crowded Clippers practices I can recall (photo courtesy Arash Markazi-ESPN LA)

Interviewing CP3 in one of the most media crowded Clippers practices I can recall (photo courtesy Arash Markazi-ESPN LA)

The Clippers earned their home court advantage in the opening round of the playoffs and now they need to hold serve again in Tuesday night’s game 5 against the Grizzlies or else dig a hole from here to Lob City, China to get out of.

The Clips led this series 2-0 after a pair of home wins that included a fortunate game 2 finish thanks to Chris Paul’s phenominal driving layup at the buzzer. But it was a totally different story in Memphis where Zack Randolph stayed out of foul trouble and Marc Gasol showed why he’s a top 3 center in this league on their way to tying this series. And the Griz dominated the boards something that the Clippers must improve on or it could be one very disappointing short post-season run.

I attended today’s Clippers practice where we spoke about the necessary adjustments that must be made to succeed in this series along with getting reactions to the story of the day, NBA veteran center Jason Collins publicly coming out of the closet.

I’m actually surprised that it’s taken this long for a major sport athlete to announce that he’s gay, but it’s also good timing for the now free agent 34 year old Collins who’s far from guaranteed to ever play again. He’s only been a marginal part-time bench player the past few years with little success but is also a serviceable 7-footer as somebody’s backup. And today’s announcement could actually extend his career if any team wants to sign him knowing that they’ll get national attention and plenty of free pub…something that every club wants as long as it’s positive!

The following are our after practice chats with the Clippers…
Head Coach Vinny Del Negro (who jokingly started out by looking at me and saying “no questions from YOU”–but I couldn’t oblige LOL:

Chris Paul who was in a playoff-serious but happy mood:

Guard Jamaal Crawford who’s looking to turn it around after a couple of poor shooting performances on the road:

Chauncey Billups who’s not been ‘Mr. Big Shot’ in quite awhile and has struggled since returning from his late season injury:

Grant Hill who’s looking for ANY playing time and I couldn’t help but remind of him of that a few times…all good-natured, of course!:

The Clippers are 5 point favorites in game 5 as they look to their home faithful to be their loudest 6th man…although it better be Crawford or Eric Bledsoe as their best 6th man to get the job done. Of course you can hear the game on KFWB Newstalk 980 beginning with ‘Lob City’ at 6:30pm.

About Ted Sobel

Award winning sportscaster/journalist covering major events around the world since 1973. Please check out my new book 'Touching Greatness' and deep audio vault---and follow me on Twitter and Instagram (@tedsobelsports).
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