As a Clippers fan* I’m not complaining, but if you’re a Memphis fan, how jammed up are you about the rumored tug-of-war between the coach and owner over the use of shooting guard Tony Allen? In last year’s playoffs, Tony Allen was a lockdown defender. Full of energy and hustle and confidence, Allen was a big reason (Zach Randolph was the biggest, though) the Grizzlies upset the Spurs in the first round. But in this year’s first round series against the Clippers, Allen has been invisible.
Allen played just 17 minutes in game three, and wasn’t on the floor late when Chris Paul took the game over. The Grizzlies instead have opted for the lineup of Conley, Mayo, Gay, Randolph and Gasol. Last year, when Gay was out injured, Allen averaged 26 minutes a game in the playoffs; he’s only played that many once so far in the Clippers series. Memphis could be up in the series 3-0 if not for two very poor 4th quarters.
You’ve got to play Conley and Gay, and unless you want to go small – probably worth a look; it’s not like they even get the ball to Gasol in the 4th – the decision seems to be Allen vs. Mayo. In game three, Mayo was 1-of-8. He’s shooting 33 percent in the series. Is lack of leadership the issue? Wonder if we’ll see Allen in crunch time tonight if it’s a close one.
* Since 2010, when Blake Griffin started dunking. Yes, I own a Blake Griffin t-shirt.