Clippers, Grizzlies get ready to resume chippy rivalry

You want to see some contentious basketball?

Watch the Clippers and Memphis Grizzlies when they play Monday night at Staples Center.

For the last two seasons, there has been no reason for anyone to believe the Clippers and Grizzlies like each other.

There has been lots of trash talking, pushing and shoving. There has been lots of bumping, grinding and physical play.

"We expect the same thing," Clippers forward Blake Griffin said. "But we'll be ready. We're looking forward to it. I know they are."

The bad taste the Clippers and Grizzlies have for each other has intensified because the teams have met in the playoffs the last two seasons.

The Clippers won in seven games in 2012 and lost in six games in 2013.

"It's not quite the playoffs yet," Griffin said. "But with them, it's always a physical game and it'll be the same type of style. So, we'll be ready."

The Clippers won the first two games of the 2013 first-round series but lost the last four games.

Griffin was asked if that still stings.

"We're on to a new season," he said. "We're on to new things. So we have to remember the things that we learned from that series. We're focused on getting wins now and not as much as what happened last year in the playoffs. But we still need to use those things and put them into our game."

The Clippers, who didn't practice Sunday, have a different team from the one that faced Memphis in the postseason.

It starts with new Coach Doc Rivers and goes to sharpshooters J.J. Redick and Jared Dudley and backup point guard Darren Collison. And not to be forgotten is the improved play of center DeAndre Jordan, who is third in the NBA in rebounding (13.2) and fifth in blocked shots (2.20).

Perhaps, Griffin was told, this team is better equipped to deal with the Grizzlies because of the changes and experiences they have gained.

"Sometimes that first game is kind of an indication," Griffin said. "We have guys that can spread the floor, obviously, in J.J. and JD in the starting lineup. DC is pushing the ball and keeping the tempo going.

"Other than that, we have returning guys for the most part. So, I think we have a team that matches up well, but we need to do a good job inside of defending and really working our way inside-out."

Seeking better offense

Can the Clippers really get better on offense?

Rivers thinks so.

"I keep thinking we're not close to where we should be, or are going to be offensively," Rivers said.

The Clippers lead the NBA in scoring (110 points a game) and assists (26.4) and are third in field-goal percentage (48.6%).

Still, Rivers said his team can improve its rhythm and pace of the offense.

"We have to keep the same pace and spacing," Rivers said. "I think we lose that at times. So we have to do a better job with it."

Twitter: @BA_Turner

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