NBA Preview from The Sports Network|
Saturday, April 13th
(All times Eastern)
Los Angeles Clippers (53-26) at Memphis Grizzlies (54-25), 8 p.m.
(Sports Network) - Two of the Western Conference's elite will duke it out
Saturday night when the Los Angeles Clippers visit the Memphis Grizzlies at
The Grizzlies are tied for third in the Western Conference with the Denver
Nuggets, but Denver owns the tiebreaker with a 3-1 head-to-head record this
season and is currently the third seed.
The Pacific Division champion Clippers are the fourth seed out west, but they
trail the Grizzlies and Nuggets by a game. Los Angeles automatically earns a
top-four seed as a division champion, but can still move into the third spot
by finishing with a better record than either Memphis or Denver.
The Grizzlies won their third straight on Friday with an 82-78 road victory
over the Houston Rockets. Memphis is the NBA's best defensive team in terms of
opponents' scoring and Houston is the NBA's second-best scoring team at 105.8
"All the guys are just on the same page," said Memphis guard Tony Allen. "When
you've got five guys out there with the same goal, fighting hard and playing
together, this is the outcome -- you get the win."
Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins employed several different lineups in an effort
to slow the Rockets down. Marc Gasol had a double-double with 15 points and 12
Zach Randolph, Allen, Mike Conley and Jerryd Bayless also scored in double
The Grizz finish the season with a trip to Dallas on Monday and a home finale
against the Utah Jazz on Wednesday.
The Clippers won their fourth in a row Friday with a 96-93 victory over the
New Orleans Hornets. L.A. trailed by six at the start of the fourth quarter,
but outscored the Hornets 39-30 in the final frame.
"We finally found a way to get it done," Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro said.
"I was pleased, the last five or six minutes of the game we seemed to really
lock in defensively, got some stops, scored a lot when we had to. I was
disappointed early with our energy and the way we were running on both ends.
It wasn't like we had been the last three games, but the fourth quarter was
and that was obviously the key."
Del Negro employed a smaller lineup in crunch time with Blake Griffin, Chris
Paul, Jamal Crawford, Matt Barnes and Eric Bledsoe. Griffin had 20 points,
while Paul notched 17 points and 14 assists. Barnes contributed 16 and 10
Chauncey Billups didn't play on Friday, but Del Negro believes Billups will
see regular-season action before the playoffs start.
The Clippers host the Portland Trail Blazers on Tuesday night, then close the
regular season with a jaunt to Sacramento.
The Clippers have won two of three this season against the Grizzlies,
including a Jan. 14 victory in Memphis. L.A. has still dropped four of its
last six in Memphis.
04/13 10:47:16 ET