Systematic. Robotic. Unstoppable. That’s he only way to describe how well the Los Angeles Clippers played on Saturday night in their playoff opener against the Memphis Grizzlies. To put it simply, DeAndre Jordan was the only Clippers starter to not find his way into a double-digit scoring total on the night, but he made up for it with a solid night in the paint.
All in all, the Clippers looked at times this season to be the best team in basketball. They still have plenty of work to do until they restore that standing, but their performance on Saturday against the Grizzlies was just overwhelming.
On the other side of the court we have the Memphis Grizzlies, a team NBA nerds pick to be their sleeper team every year — well at least the last two. And to their credit, the Grizzlies are being picked for all the right reasons, but when it comes to putting up the goods they seem to disappear. Thus was the case on Saturday night, as Memphis couldn’t have looked worse on the road.
Mike Tirico sort of beat that horse to death late in the game, but that gives you a good idea of how the game went, there simply wasn’t much to talk about other than the fact that the Clippers did what they were supposed to do and made the Grizzlies look bad in the process. If that’s not textbook, I’m not sure what is.
But let’s not forget that these two teams met last season in the postseason, so there’s a history here. However, these are different teams now from last year and while the Clippers won a nail biter of a series in 2012, they may win this year’s with more comfort. Grizzlies fans don’t want to hear it, but Memphis misses Rudy Gay and the trade that was made earlier this season is coming back to bite the Grizzlies now.
Sure, they save money moving forward, but the Clippers are generally the same team they were last year and they grew together. Look at how well that’s working for them now as they face a team trying to shed salary to retain it’s core. What good is retaining a core if it only gets you so far? That’s not to suggest the Grizzlies don’t have a solid core now, but the numbers speak for themselves.
For once in forever, the Clippers seem to be the better team in Los Angeles and so far they’re off to a great start in making a tear through the Western Conference. There is work to be done, and things can be improved upon, but after the first day of playoff basketball, things are looking one-sided and the Clippers are on the right side of that line.