Grizzlies host Clippers; Memphis on a roll at home

Associated Press Modified: April 28, 2012 at 6:16 pm •  Published: April 28, 2012
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — The Memphis Grizzlies have been unbeatable at home lately and are preparing to open the postseason on their own court for the first time in team history when they host the Los Angeles Clippers.

The Grizzlies are riding a franchise-best 11-game winning streak at home. They went 26-7 at the FedExForum in this shortened season, but they do not plan on resting on that success in their first-round Western Conference series against the Clippers.

"We still have got to come out and play," Memphis forward Zach Randolph said Saturday.

"We can't just think because we've got home-court advantage it's going to be easy. It's a basketball game. We've got to come out focused with the understanding that we have our fans behind us, which is going to give us more energy and we're going to feed off of that. But we've still got to be ready and have a defensive mindset."

The Clippers won two of the three games between these teams in the regular season with each winning at home.

The Grizzlies' defensive challenges in this best-of-seven series will be guarding the Clippers' pick-and-roll offense. They want to try to control the pace of the game and keep the Clippers' big men from living up to their Lob City reputation by throwing down more thunderous dunks.

The key is containing All-Star guard Chris Paul, the man orchestrating of the Los Angeles performance. Only Boston's Rajon Rondo and Steve Nash of Phoenix had more assists than Paul (9.1) per game this season. Paul didn't practice Friday with a strained left groin but did work some Saturday. He is expected to play Sunday night.

"He tries to dictate the game by getting everybody involved," Memphis guard Tony Allen said. "When it's time for him to be Chris Paul, he definitely turns up the volume.

"You just try to contain him. Make things tough for him in that pick-and-roll. We know that's his bread and butter, and we have to be alert."

Indications Saturday were that Randolph, who missed 37 games with a knee injury, might start Sunday night. He was used primarily off the bench since his return in March, but did start the season finale against Orlando.