WHO: Memphis Grizzlies (3-2, 3-0 home) vs. Los Angeles Clippers (3-1, 1-0 road)
WHEN: 7:00 PM CT
WHERE: FedExForum in Memphis, Tennessee
HOW TO WATCH/LISTEN: Fox Sports Southeast/92.9 FM ESPN Memphis
It's Friday, and what better way to kick off the weekend than with a tussle with everyone's favorite villains, the Los Angeles Clippers? The Grizzlies come in having just wrapped up a four game in five day stretch, and fresh off a win in what I'm being told is still somehow being called a "basketball game.’ The Clippers, meanwhile, come in at at 3-1 having dropped their last game at home to the Oklahoma City Westbrooks.
The Grizzlies are certainly hyped for the matchup. The team posted a teaser video to their Twitter page yesterday. Watch it now, and watch again before tip off to reach MAXIMUM HYPENESS:
The Grizzlies and Clippers certainly have a history, and there will be no love lost in Friday's matchup. But, outside of fisticuffs, what should one watch for in this game?
What 2 Watch 4
1. Core Four
Outside of Mike Conley, who was just okay, the Grizzlies' Core Four played more like the Poor Four on Wednesday night. Z-Bo missed his first seven shots on his way to finishing 5-18, and his defense continued to look like a liability even off the bench. Marc shot so poorly that it prompted this tweet:
Tony Allen was also up to his usual tricks. Allen went 1-8 from the field, but it felt like he threw up at least twice as many bricks. Memphis is going to need its star players to play better. They got away with those performances because they were playing the Pelicans and because Anthony Davis had an off night. They won't have similar luck against the Clippers.
2. Frontcourt Face-off
The Grizzlies have faced some star players already, including Karl-Anthony Davis and Anthony Davis, but the Clippers present the toughest frontcourt pairing that Memphis has faced to this point in DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin. Marc and JaMychal Green will have their hands full, and both will need to be on top of their games. Both Griffin and Jordan are dynamic players and could give the Grizzlies, who've struggled to defend the paint so far this year, fits.
It was mentioned on Chris Vernon's show that, given the rivalry, Z-Bo might petition Fizdale to start, but I'd be surprised if that happens. The Grizzlies will need all the interior defense they can get, and Randolph isn't the best option there.
3. Wade Baldwin IV
Baldwin has been a typical rookie in that he's been inconsistent, flashing the sort of abilities that made him a first round pick in between boneheaded mistakes. He's going to continue to get plenty of opportunities to learn from his mistakes (partially because there are no other options). The matchup against the Clippers should present Baldwin's greatest test so far. Depending on how Fizdale manages his rotations, the young point guard may even find himself opposite Chris Paul at times. It'd be a good chance to see how Baldwin matches up with one of the league's best.
There’s a special sort of energy when these two teams play, and FedExForum should be rocking for the first clash of the season. Still, Memphis is still figuring things out, still short Chandler Parsons’ offensive firepower, and still struggling to guard the interior. The Clippers, though, aren’t playing in peak form, either. That being said, I just don’t think Memphis has the presence inside to hang with LA. I think the Grizzlies drop their first home game of the season, 100-90, and fall back to .500.