Clippers expect rival Memphis to test them again

The Clippers face the Grizzlies on Wednesday. They defeated Memphis in a tough playoff series last season, and they're jockeying with them for playoff position again.

March 12, 2013|By Broderick Turner

They still have that don't-like-you attitude toward each other, even though the Clippers have won the first two games this season against the Memphis Grizzlies.

They still have that show-me-what-you've-got demeanor, even though the Clippers have stood up to the physical Grizzlies.

So what began during last season's tug-of-war first-round playoff series extended into this season, with the next chapter coming Wednesday night at Staples Center.

"Those guys know what kind of game it's going to be," center DeAndre Jordan said. "It's going to be a grind. It's going to be, not a dirty game, but it's going to be physical down there with those guys. We'll be ready for it."

It's a significant game for the Clippers in several ways.

They can win the season series against the Grizzlies with a victory.

The Clippers are in need of another signature win.

And perhaps more important, the Clippers want to hold onto third place in the Western Conference. The Grizzlies were fourth, one game behind the Clippers before Memphis played at Portland on Tuesday night.

"Obviously, it's just another game, but it's a big game because of the implications to it," Chauncey Billups, a 16-year veteran, said. "We've been pretty successful against them this year. It's a team that's playing really, really well since the trade that they've made, and we want to continue to play well against them."

Since the Clippers and Grizzlies last met, Memphis acquired Tayshaun Prince from Detroit in a deal that sent Rudy Gay to Toronto.

Not much has changed about Memphis other than that.

Going into their game Tuesday, the Grizzlies still held opponents to an NBA-low 89.4 points per game.

Memphis ranked 10th in rebounds (42.8 per game) and first in offensive rebounding (13.3).

All-Star power forward Zach Randolph was third in the league in rebounding (11.6), fourth in offensive rebounding (4.2) and second in double-doubles (35).

"I think you've got to pick it up defensively, be a little bit more aggressive," Chris Paul said. "And then you've got to rebound. Part of their games are slow too because if they miss, they tip it, tip it, get offensive rebounds. I think we've got to dictate it by getting stops and getting out and running."


Coach Vinny Del Negro said Jamal Crawford, who missed the last two games because of a sore left ankle, will play against Memphis. Del Negro said Eric Bledsoe (injured left calf) will not play and Matt Barnes will start at small forward in place of Caron Butler (strained left elbow).

Twitter: @BA_Turner

Los Angeles Times Articles