2013 NBA Playoffs: Los Angeles Clippers Coach Vinny Del Nego Needs Better Defensive Plan

By John Raffel
Crystal LoGiudice-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro has an easy, but difficult, assignment to get his team back in control of its NBA West first-round series against the Memphis Grizzlies.

It’s easy because everyone knows what the key is for the Clippers, tied 2-2 with the Grizzlies, to snap a two-game losing streak and win game 5 on Tuesday: stop the Grizzlies’ inside game.

But that’s easier said than done.

Yes. Stopping Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol, who scored 24 points apiece in the game 4 win, would be the solution. But stopping them is the difficult thing.

Del Negro and his staff will need to come up with a plan for the Clipper defense to give Chris Paul and Blake Griffin more hope in stopping the inside game.

That would put pressure on the Grizzlies outside shooters to hit their shots, which they did in game 4.

Del Negro probably has no other choice than to focus on stopping the inside game and hope the Grizzlies are cold from outside. If he doesn’t stop the Memphis inside players from freely going to the Nets, nothing else will matter.

The series is back in Los Angeles so the home crowd does help ignite the team’s defense. That’s why Del Negro needs to get a win back in LA. Losing the third game and going back to Memphis will be a tough task for the Clippers. But if they play good defense and plug up the inside in game 5, that will make it easier to win game 6.

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