It was the Clippers' and Grizzlies' first meeting of the season and a rematch of teams that have played each other in the past two playoffs, with the Clippers and Grizzlies each winning a series.
Monday’s game played out like the final four games of the 2013 opening-round series, with the Grizzlies outlasting the Clippers and showing them that they still have a ways to go before being considering serious contenders.
How it happened: The Clippers continually made it a close game, tying the score and going up by a basket but never took more than a two-point lead until the Grizzlies finally opened up a 12-point lead in the fourth quarter and sealed the win. Once again, the frontcourt tandem of Zach Randolph (26 points and 15 rebounds) and Marc Gasol (23 points and nine rebounds) was too much for the Clippers.
What it means: After thinking about the way last season ended, the Clippers had circled this game on their calendars six months ago, but outside the two coaches and a few personnel moves, the result was the same as the postseason series. The Clippers know they will have to figure out a way to beat Memphis if they hope to improve upon last season’s disappointing finish.
Hits: Chris Paul tied Magic Johnson’s record with his 11th consecutive double-double to start the season. He finished with 18 points, 11 assists and 9 rebounds. He finished one rebound shy of recording his 12th career triple-double in the regular season.
Blake Griffin had 23 points and 11 rebounds, recording his eighth double-double in the past 10 games. Earlier in the day, he was named the Western Conference player of the week.
Misses: Jared Dudley is a solid role player but has struggled of late in the Clippers starting lineup. He hit three of his four shots but finished with just six points, zero rebounds and one assist in 23 minutes. Jamal Crawford struggled with his shot, hitting 3-of-11 and making only two of his six 3-point attempts.
Stat of the game: 100. Not only is that the number of consecutive sellouts for the Clippers, but it’s also a number their opponents most always surpass. The Clippers are giving up 105.7 points per game, third worst in the league.
Up next: The Clippers play at the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday in the first of a tough road back-to-back against Minnesota and the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Clippers beat the Timberwolves 109-107 at Staples Center last week, escaping in the final moments after Kevin Love's last-second tip-in rimmed out.