The Los Angeles Clippers and Memphis Grizzlies are no stranger to one another. As you may recall, these two were engaged in a gritty, back-and-forth seven-game series in the first round of the playoffs last season, with the Clippers prevailing with a win in Memphis in game seven.
While the uniforms and primary players will be the same, these two teams come into the 2012-13 season looking quite different from the way they did last May.
The Grizzlies lost O.J. Mayo to Dallas in free agency, but acquired Wayne Ellington from Minnesota and will also be getting forward Darrell Arthur back. Arthur missed the entire lockout-shortened season with a torn Achilles. He’ll provide a big boost off-the-bench. They’ve potentially upgraded their bench by essentially swapping Mayo for Jerryd Bayless.
Zach Randolph will also enter this season 100 percent healthy, after enduring an injury-riddled 2011-12 season during which he averaged just over 11 points per game in 28 games. Prior to that season, he’d signed a four-year, $71 million deal with the Grizz.
The Clippers most notably lost Mo Williams, Randy Foye, Nick Young and Reggie Evans. However, they’ve been replaced by Jamal Crawford, Lamar Odom, Grant Hill, Willie Green and Matt Barnes. Unfortunately, Barnes was suspended by the league for tonight’s opener as a result of off-the-court issues during the offseason.
Los Angeles will also be getting Chauncey Billups back from his own Achilles injury, but he won’t return until mid-November.
Last season, the Clippers won two of three regular season meetings with the Grizz, prior to the playoff triumph. As you may remember, the Clippers were then swept out of the second round by the San Antonio Spurs.
Blake Griffin, who had meniscus surgery over the summer, also signed a five-year, $95 million extension in July; a move the Clippers are hoping will help them to re-sign Chris Paul once the star point guard becomes a free agent himself next summer.
The Clippers will be looking to qualify for the playoffs in consecutive seasons for the first time since the ’91-’92 and ’92-’93 seasons.
Following this one, the Clippers will “travel” to face the revamped (0-1) Lakers on Friday night at Staples Center.
About the Author
Written by Taylor Smith
Taylor Smith is a writer for the Los Angeles Clippers.