GOTN Preview: Grizzlies vs. Clippers
What happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object? We’ll find out tonight as the high-powered, high-flying Clippers (37-19) host the defensive-minded Grizzlies (40-14) who have the 5th most efficient defense in the NBA (per ESPN) and the least points against. The Clips will look to maintain their good home record (23-7) and improve their standing in the West Playoffs. Currently the Clippers sit 5th and would play Portland in the first round which isn’t so bad when you consider Memphis, who are in second place would currently face the defending champion Spurs in the first round in a 2 v 7 matchup. The Oklahoma City Thunder could climb into the 7th spot over the remaining regular season games making the Clippers’ standing in the Western Conference look better at 5th than the Grizzlies as the 2nd seed come playoff time.
Tonight’s game will not feature Blake Griffin who is out with an elbow injury with no set timetable to return. He’s been the Clip’s leading scorer this year due to his added shooting range and his ability to draw Z-Bo out of the lane will be especially missed tonight. The LAC do not have great big men or wing depth and were expected to make moves at the deadline to sure up the bench. Instead GM and head coach Doc Rivers whiffed on signing Amare Stoudemire (signed by Mavs) and failed to trade for Arron Afflalo (traded to Portland). The lack of moves may be costly for the Clippers come playoff time.
The Grizzlies made their move for Jeff Green a while before the deadline. He’s been a welcome addition on the wing with his athleticism and ability to defend the 3 and 4 spots. He’s been averaging 12.3 ppg in 29 minutes and fits right into the already solid Grizzlies defense. Marc Gasol continues to play at a high level on both ends of the floor and continues to be one of the best passing centers in the NBA (3.7 APG).
The Grizzlies have quietly been the second best team in the NBA and will continue to prove it tonight versus the top offense in the Association.
CLIPPERS – 89 GRIZZ – 95