(Sports Network) - The Memphis Grizzlies and Los Clippers tip off their
2012-13 campaigns on Wednesday in a rematch from last season's first-round
playoff battle that went seven games.
The Clippers toppled the Grizzlies in the deciding seventh game in Memphis,
but the Staples Center in Los Angeles will serve as the venue for both teams'
opener to a new season.
Chris Paul and Blake Griffin still anchor the Clippers, who added several
veteran glue guys in the offseason in an effort to make the leap in the
Western Conference. Last season, after they knocked off the Grizzlies, the
Clippers were swept by the San Antonio Spurs in four games of the Western
Paul could be in for a really amazing season, which is terrifying to consider
since he finished third in MVP voting last season. He will be a free agent
this summer and will get a lot of money from some team and the Clippers hope
Griffin was scheduled to play for Team USA at the London Olympics, but tore
the medial meniscus in his left knee. The injury also came one day after he
signed a five-year extension with the Clippers. Griffin is expected to be 100-
percent for Wednesday's opener, and the season, but a second surgery to the
same knee that caused him to miss the entire 2009-10 season is something to
In an effort to get into the conversation with the Spurs, Oklahoma City
Thunder and their fellow Staples Center occupants, the Los Angeles Lakers, the
Clippers brought in several veteran glue guys.
Jamal Crawford, Willie Green, Ronny Turiaf, Matt Barnes, Grant Hill and Lamar
Odom were brought in to enhance the bench. Odom is back in Los Angeles where
he thrived as a Laker in an attempt to forget about last season's disaster
that was his Dallas Mavericks career. Barnes is suspended by the NBA for
Wednesday's game after he plead nolo contendre in California state court to
resisting, delaying or obstructing an officer in the discharge of his duties
The Grizzlies, despite the loss to the Clippers in the first round of the
playoffs, stood relatively pat this offseason. Their big acquisition was
Jerryd Bayless. He was brought in to replace O.J. Mayo, who bolted as a free
agent to the Mavericks.
The starting five remains intact with the awesome front line of Rudy Gay, Zach
Randolph and Marc Gasol. Mike Conley took strides toward being an elite point
guard last season and Tony Allen is the best perimeter defender in the whole
It is curious that the Grizzlies didn't try and upgrade considering that two
seasons ago, Memphis took the Thunder to a Game 7 in the Western Conference
semifinals and last season they didn't live up to their potential.
"It's such a long season," said head coach Lionel Hollins. "Last year, our
health wasn't as good as we would have liked it. We had a great season.
There's a lot of expectations on us. It's not pressure, it's what's you want."
The Clippers won last season's regular-season series, 2-1, with both victories
coming in Los Angeles. L.A. has won four of five against the Grizz.
The Sports Network