It wasn't very long ago when the Clippers and Grizzlies had bad blood, facing off in consecutive playoff appearances, with the Clippers scoring a historic fourth quarter come-back and the Grizzlies getting their pay-back the following year. Since then, the teams have seemingly been stuck on a treadmill, with the Clippers a step above their counter-parts from Memphis, as both sides look to secure home-court for the 2017 playoffs and an opportunity to upset the Warriors/Spurs.
This is a great early test for both sides, and make no mistakes, it will get chippy as the bad blood still lingers between the two sides, and there would be absolutely no surprise if Blake Griffin and Zach Randolph get into a shoving match. Almost want to say, it'll be a guarantee that the two big men jaw at each other, at the least.
Chris Paul and Mike Conley should provide a great match-up at the point spot, as Paul looks to bounce back from his sub-par performance against Westbrook, where he turned it over 5 times and went 4-11 from the field. Conley has long been one of the elite point defenders in the league, and will do his job on Paul.
JJ Redick also needs to get out of his shooting funk if the Clippers want to bounce back from the setback against the Thunder. Shooting 39% from the field on the young season, and 31% from range, a huge detractor to the Clippers once-well ran offense.
It'll be interesting to see if this is the game where Doc Rivers decides to start a Wesley Johnson or Alan Anderson ahead of Luc Richard Mbah A Moute as well, since Memphis doesn't have a great scoring threat on the wings for the Prince to keep his shackles on. Wes and Anderson both provide an offensive spark that Mbah A Moute lacks.
Clippers will probably end up sneaking away with this one, in a low scoring affair before they visit the Spurs.