The Los Angeles Clippers and Memphis Grizzlies have a documented relationship that would certainly qualify as a rivalry. To be more specific, the two teams don’t seem to like being in the presence of one another. In that spirit, they combined for a close game (as expected) on Friday night that saw the home team escape with a 102-96 victory.
Since the return of Marc Gasol to the lineup following a long-term injury, the Memphis defense has been lights-out, and that continued here against the high-powered Clips. The Grizzlies were able to hold LA to just 38.8% shooting from the field (and 28% from 3-point range), and while the “big guns” got their numbers, Memphis kept the Clips to a relatively slow pace and completely eliminated their bench. Blake Griffin (28 points, 13 rebounds), Chris Paul (18 points, 14 assists), and Jamal Crawford (23 points) had productive nights for the Clippers, but the aforementioned bench struggled mightily, scoring just 7 points on 1-for-10 shooting, and that was enough to slow them down.
On the Memphis side, it was a throwback, dominant performance on the interior from an offensive standpoint. Zach Randolph led the way with 21 points and 11 rebounds, while the aforementioned Gasol also had a double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds to go along with 4 blocks. As usual, there was nothing flashy from the Grizzlies, but they scored 60 points in the paint and generally won the battle around the rim.
At 31-23 after this victory, Memphis is still on the outside looking in toward the playoff picture, but if they can continue the level of play that they’ve established with Gasol in the lineup, the Grizzlies will make a return trip for the postseason.