The Florida sun and fun is over for the
It's back to the grit and grind of facing a hated rival.
Or is that too strong of a word for the way the Clippers and
"Because it's a team with a bunch of bigs that are physical, I think it can become a very physical, nasty game," Clippers Coach
It's fair to say that Randy Newman's "I Love L.A." will never make it onto the playlist inside
There is usually as much pushing and shoving whenever these teams meet as there is scoring and rebounding. Rivers said he wasn't concerned about power forward Blake Griffin keeping his composure in the matchup against
"He's a grown man," Rivers said of Griffin. "Blake played terrific against Memphis last year, so I don't think that's a worry."
The Grizzlies (11-2) have the best record in the NBA and are undefeated at home, where they have won 21 consecutive games dating to February. They had a doctor's excuse for their loss at Toronto on Wednesday, with five players stricken by a stomach virus that forced them to take a chartered flight home instead of playing against the Raptors.
Everybody except starting guard
The Grizzlies could be further bolstered Sunday by the season debut of guard Nick Calathes, who has been serving a 20-game suspension for violating the league's anti-drug policy that started during last season's playoffs.
Beating Memphis means managing to find ways to score against a team that's holding opponents to 92.5 points per game, third-lowest in the NBA. It also entails slowing Randolph (16.5 points per game and 12.1 rebounds) and center
"Offensively, those two have to be as good as there are in the league," Rivers said of the Grizzlies' big men.
The Clippers (7-4) are coming off their two most lopsided victories this season, albeit against lesser foes in Orlando and injury-depleted Miami. Those triumphs came by an average of 20.5 points, qualifying as much-needed breathers for a team that had posted its first five victories by an average of 6.6 points.
Griffin didn't want to oversell the idea that the Clippers have suddenly rounded into form.
"It just helps to start out a trip with two wins," Griffin said, "but we can win these two games and lose the next one. It's really about the entire trip, not these two games."
A victory over the Grizzlies would provide more than another early-season confidence boost; it would give the Clippers the satisfaction of one-upping a nemesis.
"I just like playing games like this, because it's one game, but it has meaning," Rivers said. "The meaning is you beat a good team."
CLIPPERS AT MEMPHIS
When: 3 p.m. PST.
On the air: TV: Prime Ticket; Radio: 980, 1330.
Records: Clippers 7-4;
Record vs. Grizzlies (2013-14): 1-2.