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Clippers at Memphis - Game Preview

2009/2010 NBA Regular Season
November 17th, 2009, 5:00 PM
FSN Prime Ticket, 980 AM
Probable starters:
Baron Davis
PG Mike Conley
Rasual Butler SG O.J. Mayo
Al Thornton SF Rudy Gay
Marcus Camby
PF Zach Randolph
Chris Kaman
C Marc Gasol


The Back Story:

November 7th, 2009 in LA - Clippers 113, Grizzlies 110 - Recap  Box Score

The Big Picture:

Well, there goes the 3-0 road trip.  On this first multi-game trip of the season for the Clippers, the opening game looked like the toughest one.  Oklahoma City had just beaten the Spurs in San Antonio, but the Clippers came away with a somewhat unexpected victory there (made all the more surprising by the fact that OKC then beat the Heat in Miami).  The second game, in New Orleans against the struggling Hornets playing without the injured Chris Paul, looked like an easy one - so of course the Clippers lost.  Now it's the 2-8 Grizzlies.  So who knows what's going to happen?  If the Clippers don't rebound better than they did in the Big Easy, the outcome will be easy to predict.  LA was -15 in rebounding against a poor rebounding team - Memphis is a good rebounding team, so it could get really ugly if the Clippers don't bring a little more effort to the glass tonight.  Also, Baron Davis and Chris Kaman have to play well - much better than they did last night.  The Clippers are not very good right now, and they're certainly not good enough to win when either Baron or Kaman are sub-par.

The Antagonist:

The Clippers are traditional choice for NBA dysfunction and have been for years.  But this season, you really have to look elsewhere for all the best drama - and Memphis is probably second only to Golden State.  Things were in danger of quieting down a bit in Tennessee with Allen Iverson now out of the picture - but not to worry, the Grizzlies went out and signed Jamaal Tinsley.  If he doesn't work out, they can always call Stephon Marbury.  So yes, Chris Wallace has traded for Zach Randolph and signed Allen Iverson and Jamaal Tinsley in the last few months.  That's a trifecta of signings the likes of which we'll probably never see again.  Tinsley will likely make his Grizzlies debut (and play in his first game in over 21 months) tonight against the Clippers.  It's kind of too bad they keep bringing the circus through - the Grizzlies have a very nice starting unit and should be able to win some games if there weren't so many continual distractions.  Rudy Gay killed the Clippers 10 days again at the start of the Palindrome games - we'll if the Clippers have figured him out at the end.

The Subplots:

  • Iverson out, Tinsley in.  Do the even need a point guard that badly?  Conley does some things well, and Marcus Williams has been OK.  I've heard it said that they consider O.J. Mayo point guard material.  So what's the deal with bringing in Tinsley?  Isn't that sort of influence the last thing they need on a young and talented team?
  • The weary and the rested.  The Clippers played in New Orleans last night.  The Grizzlies haven't played since Saturday.  In fact, the Clippers have played twice since the last time Memphis played.
  • DeMarre Carroll.  I'm sure other bloggers think the same thing about their teams, but doesn't it feel like the most obscure players play great against the Clippers?  Devin Brown last time against the Hornets, Bobby Brown this time.  Well, DeMarre Carroll is 16 for 50 on the season - but he was 5 for 6 against the Clippers in LA.  It matters too, because the Grizzlies have no bench to speak of - but with Carroll making shots, the game in LA stayed close even when the Memphis starters were out.
  • Zach Randolph versus Marcus Camby.  Randolph created some issues for Marcus early in the first meeting.  Zach's combination of size, quickness and range is a lot for anyone to handle, truth be told.  Craig Smith had a really good game against the Grizzlies 10 days ago, and matched body-types with Z-Bo.  Don't be surprised if Smith gets an early call.
  • Defending Gay.  In LA, with Eric Gordon still in the lineup, it was Rasual Butler getting the assignment to defend Gay.  Tonight it will be Al Thornton, since Butler will have to guard Mayo.  I actually like the idea of Thornton on Gay better.  As we've said before, Al's actually a pretty good on ball defender - he's just not very good at helping and rotating and what not.  Plus Al has a lot more strength than Sool, so he'll be able to stand up to Gay more.  It also wouldn't be bad to bo at Gay on the other end - he's never been to interested in defense, so at the worst you make him work on defense, and maybe you get a lot of productivity out of the matchup.  At any rate, trying to slow down Gay will be a key for the Clippers in this game.
  • First wing off the bench.  With Gordon still out and Thornton back starting, and with Kareem Rush tearing his ACL last night in New Orleans, it will be interesting to see what MDsr does with his rotation.  Will Novak be the first wing off the bench?  Or will it be Ricky Davis?  Do you play Baron at the two along with Bassy at the one.
  • Movie Quote: 

    Some men hunt for sport, others hunt for food.
    The only thing I'm hunting for, is an outfit that looks good...
    See... my... Vest. See my vest.
    Made from real gorilla chest.
    See this sweater, there's no better, than authentic Irish Setter.
    See this hat? 'Twas my cat,
    My evening wear vampire bat.
    These white slippers are albino African endangered rhino.
    bear underwear,
    Turtle's necks I've got my share.
    Beret of Poodle on my noodle it shall rest.
    Try my red robin suit, it comes one breast or two.
    See my vest. See my vest. See my vest. 

    Mr. Burns, The Simpsons episode Two Dozen and One Greyhounds (1995) - With the reference to Grizzly bear underwear, I couldn't resist a song from the Simpsons for the second straight game.  Excellent.
  • Get the Grizzlies perspective at Straight Outta Vancouver.