Friday, May 3, 2013

Friday Roundtable: What Team Is Coming Back From A 3-2 Deficit?

Can the Clippers battle back from being down 3-2 to take the series from Memphis? (

BDD's Friday Roundtable is a weekly discussion among a group of our writers on a trending NBA or college basketball topic.

This week's question: All four of Friday's games have the series at 3-2. Which team currently trailing is most likely to come back and advance to the next round?

Boston? Atlanta? Houston? No. I'll take the Clippers as the team with the best chance to rattle out a series win after going down 3-2.

It took a massive comeback in Game 7 for them to close out the Memphis Grizzlies around this time last year and there's no reason it can't happen again. Chris Paul is the best point guard of his generation, able to balance the acts of tallying assists and taking on the scoring burden when needed, particularly in clutch moments. He has a fine supporting cast of bigs and a serviceable (and more, in the regular season) back-up.

If the Clips are to surge past Memphis, though, they must start impacting the paint and pulling in rebounds. This starts with DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin, high ankle sprain and all, being able to gut it out against one of the NBA's best frontcourt tandems in Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol. Easier said than done, obviously, but Jordan and Griffin are due for a big game and should go into tonight's potential elimination game looking to get their opposition in foul trouble and, moreso, out-positioning and out-hustling the Grizzlies for every possible rebound.

This extends to all the Los Angeles bigs. Basically, they must hold up their end of the bargain inside so the league's top distributor can keep his eyes open for weak spots in Memphis' armor.

The Los Angeles Clippers have the best chance of coming back and winning the series. This is partially because Oklahoma City and New York have been the better teams, but maybe let up on the gas a little too early, and Atlanta has looked about as stable as a one-legged gymnast.

But mostly the Clippers need it more than the Grizzlies do, and the team should realize that. Sure, we can talk about how great Memphis is defensively, how much Zach Randolph has stepped up the past three games and that the Clippers are banged up (it wasn't planned, but Alex hit all of this on the head in his portion), but sometimes a team just wills itself to victory. The Clippers surely know this is the year they can't exit in the first round.

It's such an unfamiliar sight. The city of Los Angeles is there for the taking. After decades of being the little brother to the Lakers and the city's punchline, the Clippers now have the better team. The Lakers season is already over, and the Clippers can build even more of a case for their arrival if they can advance further than their cross-city rival. This is why Chris Paul came to LA. This is why they drafted Blake Griffin. It has been a slow process to return to relevance and this year was the perfect combination of Clippers success and Lakers failure. Those who wore paper bags over their heads to Clippers games 10 years ago can now proudly don that red Clippers shirt and know the waiting is starting to pay off. Now is the time to capitalize on that, and I think the team understands that. 

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