In what appears to be a throwback to last season, Griffin refused to settle for jumpers and used his quickness to get by the Grizzlies' slow big men. Look no further than his double-digit free-throw attempts. Surprisingly, we saw Griffin the facilitator return as well. Most encouraging, though, was how he reacted to Memphis' physical play against him -- by punishing them through his actions, not his words.
The offensive maestro is back. To say he was ever gone would be a fallacy, but Paul had a bounce in his step Saturday that we had not seen in a while. He connected on lobs with Griffin, found Caron Butler and Randy Foye on the wings and corners, and balanced his attack with properly-timed shooting barrages. When he's atop his game -- as he was in the first and third quarters -- the Clippers are a contender.
Foye continued his streak of hit-or-miss games, as he tends to have a large impact or no impact at all. On Saturday it was more than just his exquisite 3-point shooting, though. He moved well off the ball, created ideal offensive spacing, and hounded O.J. Mayo and the Grizzlies' guards into turnovers with stifling perimeter defense. It's safe to say he temporarily earned his starting spot back.
This was the Clippers' largest margin of victory since an 18-point victory in Washington on Feb. 15, which speaks volumes of their defensive performance. Sure, Paul and Griffin returned to form offensively, but their defense was key. They forced turnovers, shadowed Memphis into low-percentage shots and packed the paint, resulting in fast-break opportunities and crisply executed offensive sets.
The final score was not indicative of how the game unfolded -- the Clippers thoroughly outplayed the Grizzlies. Simply put, Memphis didn't shoot well, turned the ball over frequently, and gave confidence to a Clippers squad that had little. Memphis has been one of the hottest teams in the West, but this type of performance is why they're not taken as seriously as Oklahoma City or San Antonio.