Sports Out West

NBA Playoffs 2013: Clippers-Grizzlies is a rematch worth watching

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The Los Angeles Clippers will play the Memphis Grizzlies in the first round of the NBA playoffs.

Again.

With the last game, a victory in Sacramento’s Sleep Train Arena, the Clippers have a date with the fifth seed Memphis Grizzlies. The kicker with this playoff rematch (the two teams met last year in an exhausting 7-game series) is the home court advantage lies with the Clippers this time around. Will we see another 27-point historic comeback like last year? Most likely no, but this matchup will be highly anticipated as both teams are sleepers in the West to contend for the conference title.

The Matchup

Both teams enter the playoffs with identical 56-26 records. The Clippers hold the 3-1 edge in the season series as well as the victory in the last playoff matchup. The Grizz is the only team in the NBA that holds opponents, for the season, under 90 points a game and the Clippers score 101.1 points per game.

Player-wise, the NBA fan can enjoy the stellar point guard matchup of Chris Paul for the Clippers and the consistent Mike Conley Jr. of the Grizzlies. The anchor of the Grizz team is the frontcourt of Zach Randolph (15.4 points, 11.2 rebounds per game) and Marc Gasol (14.1 points, 7.8 rebounds).

There will be few green players as both teams boast notable veterans. For the Clippers, Chris Paul, Jamal Crawford, and Chauncey Billups form an experienced backcourt. And the Grizzlies’ core of Gasol, Conley, and Randolph have been through all of the Memphis “grit” era.

One key difference this time around is the traded Rudy Gay, the team’s leading scorer, but his replacement Tayshaun Prince has provided defensive length. For the Clippers, it will be the Chris Paul show with occasional Blake Griffin sightings.

While some sites predict a Grizzlies victory due to their suffocating defense, the deep bench and defensive attention of “Lob City” will make it tough. Between the scoring prowess of Jamal  Crawford and the emergence of Matt Barnes, the Clippers boast a never-ending offensive attack. With defense behind the engine of Lob City, the Clippers hold opponents to 94.6 points per game, and the athleticism of Griffin, DeAndre Jordan, it may be in the Clippers’ favor.

It was the best season for the franchise ever. A 56-26 season in the books, the Pacific Division title in hand, and a fourth seed wrapped up for the Los Angeles Clippers. With another matchup with the fearful Grizzlies in the horizon, the season may get even better with a victory.

Here’s the entire series schedule: 

Game 1 - Saturday, April 20, Memphis at L.A. Clippers, 10:30 p.m., ESPN 
Game 2 - Monday, April 22, Memphis at L.A. Clippers, 10:30 p.m., TNT 
Game 3 - Thursday, April 25, L.A. Clippers at Memphis, 9:30 p.m., TNT 
Game 4 - Saturday, April 27, L.A. Clippers at Memphis, 4:30 p.m., TNT 
Game 5 * Tuesday, April 30, Memphis at L.A. Clippers, TBD, TBD 
Game 6 * Friday, May 3, L.A. Clippers at Memphis, TBD, TBD 
Game 7 * Sunday, May 5, Memphis at L.A. Clippers, TBD, TBD

* if necessary

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Timothy Lee

Timothy Lee is a sports and video game journalist born and raised in Southern California. Great at finding the important detail. He has written for publications like IGN.com, 1UP.com, Rotowire.com, and SBNation.