Ah, the NBA is officially back. And there's no better way to kick it off than to see two teams who hate each other go at it. Enter the Memphis Grizzlies and Los Angeles Clippers.
A few months removed from their epic seven game series in the first round of the 2012 NBA playoffs, these two went at it last night at Staples Center. And to call it a chippy battle would be an understatement. Bodies were flying everywhere, mostly due to Blake Griffin and Zach Randolph doing their best WWE impersonations. Ryan Hollins got in a tangle with Rudy Gay. Eric Bledsoe crashed to the floor after an inhuman rebound over Jerryd Bayless:
It was the type of game where, although sloppy, you couldn't stop watching. I was rummaging through tweet after tweet of people saying they could watch the Clips and Grizz go toe to toe every night for the rest of eternity. There's a real sense of a rivalry brewing here.
In the end, the Clips proved to be much, winning 101-92. Jamal Crawford was sensational, pouring in 29 points off the bench. In fact, that was the third most points ever for a player making his Clipper debut. He was in a zone that only few players in the NBA can rival. Eric Bledsoe was his usual self, playing excellent perimeter D, attacking on the break and just causing havoc all around. But the most pleasant surprise may have been Lamar Odom. Though he only scored two points, his activity on the defensive end was feverish. He ended up with six boards, four(!) blocks, and a couple of steals. That was the product of effort, which was great to see from someone still trying to get back into game shape.
Blake Griffin and Chris Paul combined for a mere 23 points. although CP3 took over in the fourth quarter per usual. DeAndre Jordan had nine turnovers. Willie Green was missing shots as usual. And despite all of that, the Clippers prevailed. This can only be a sign of great things to come.
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