By Beth Harris/The Associated Press
LOS ANGELES — Blake Griffin is willing to sacrifice his team-leading offense if it means containing Zach Randolph in the playoffs.
Griffin had 10 points and five rebounds in the Los Angeles Clippers’ 112-91 victory in Game 1, less than his regular-season averages of 18.0 points and 8.3 rebounds. That’s because he was busy wrestling with the Memphis Grizzlies power forward, who like Griffin, played in foul trouble most of the game.
Griffin fouled out late, while Randolph finished with five fouls. He had 13 points and four rebounds — far fewer than his 11.2 average that ranked fourth in the league this season.
“It’s my job to keep him off the glass and everybody else rebound,” Griffin said Sunday. “I do want to be more aggressive, but at the same time, I can’t hurt us by being too aggressive.”
Randolph and center Marc Gasol combined for six rebounds, surprising since the Grizzlies were one of the league’s top rebounding teams.
“We didn’t play well as a team. They did,” Randolph said. “We didn’t rebound the basketball like we usually do, so there are still a few things we need to adjust. We’ll put this behind us, come out and play our game.”
The Clippers plan the same emphasis on the boards for Game 2 on Monday night at Staples Center.
“We know they’re great at rebounding the ball, being scrappy, getting in the paint and creating second-chance opportunities,” Caron Butler said. “If we can control that, we got a great chance to win the game.”
The Clippers got contributions from just about everyone in Game 1, with seven players scoring in double figures.
The opener on Saturday night was close through the first three quarters. After the Grizzlies got within one in the fourth, the Clippers blew it open when they made 15 of 22 shots while shooting 68 percent, owned a 15-5 rebounding advantage, and outscored the Grizzlies 37-22.
“We were happy and surprised to be down by one in the fourth quarter with the opportunity to be in the game as poorly as we were playing,” Tony Allen said. “On the other hand, they were playing very well, doing all the things right. That’s what gives us a little bit of confidence looking at the film. We didn’t play nearly as well as we could play.”
Mike Conley was one of four Grizzlies with four fouls each, including two in the first half that limited him to 12 points on 5 of 11 shooting.
“We didn’t practice angry,” he said about Sunday’s session. “We analyzed a lot of things. I think we were real particular on a lot of things. We were more mad at ourselves than anything.”
The Clippers will again try to contain Conley by getting bodies in front of him and cutting down the amount of space the guard has to work with.
“He’s quick and clever,” Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro said. “Just try to take his floaters away.”
DeAndre Jordan had a quiet game offensively with three points, but his eight rebounds led the Clippers, who controlled the boards, 47-23.
“That probably won’t happen again in this series because of circumstance,” Chris Paul said about the huge rebounding advantage.
Griffin and Jordan, the Clippers’ two highest flyers above the rim, were grounded. Griffin missed his only dunk attempt in the first quarter, while Jordan had his team’s lone dunk of the game in the fourth.
“They’re doing all the little things that don’t show up in the stat sheet,” Butler said.
Griffin passed up some shots to kick the ball out, saying, “My mindset was to get in the middle and try to create open shots.”
The Grizzlies owned a slight edge in the paint, but got walloped 25-5 in second chance points.
“The adjustment will be boxing out, and not letting those guys get those extra possessions and just basically execute on offense down the stretch,” Allen said.
Conley’s ability to defend was hampered by foul trouble, and he said the Clippers’ change in pick-and-roll sets caught the Grizzlies off-guard.
“As guards, we have to do a better job of pushing up on the ball handler,” he said. “But they were flipping the screen so our big would show one way but their big would flip the screen and Chris would see it and be able to get a full head of steam on our big man. You can’t guard him when he’s got a full head of steam and with the confidence he has in the paint, he’s tough to deal with.”