Apr 9, 2012; Memphis, TN, USA; Los Angeles Clippers power forward Blake Griffin (32) shoots the ball while being guarded by Memphis Grizzlies small forward Rudy Gay (22) during the first half at the FedEx Forum. Mandatory Credit: Spruce Derden-US PRESSWIRE
The Clippers travel to Memphis to take on the Grizzlies in one of the first round's most highly anticipated series.
The no-doubt, must-watch series of the Western Conference first round is the Memphis Grizzlies against the Los Angeles Clippers. Chris Paul in the playoffs is a recipe for drama, Blake Griffin has every bit earned his reputation as one of the marquee players in the league and the Grizzlies rose to prominence by way of upsetting the Spurs in last year's playoffs and taking the Thunder deep in the semifinals.
The Clippers fell flat at the end of the season and allowed the Grizzlies to pass them in the standings for home court advantage in this series, which could be huge. Both teams feed off crowd energy -- the Grizzlies' defense ramps up in intensity with a full Memphis crowd behind them, and Zach Randolph loves rising to the challenge -- and this is largely viewed as an even matchup that could very possibly go to a Game 7.
The obvious matchup to watch will be Tony Allen's defense on Chris Paul. Allen has developed a reputation as perhaps the premier perimeter defender in the league, but Paul, maybe more than anyone else in the NBA, knows how to raise his game. How much he'll be able to actually play with a groin injury, however, is a growing concern.
VDN on Chris Paul: "He'll play (tonight). He'll be limited, probably, a little bit."— Baxter Holmes (@BaxterHolmes) April 29, 2012
That's Clippers head coach Vinny Del Negro being referred to. Paul missed the last two games of the regular season with the groin, and without him, the Clippers have no chance at defeating the Grizzlies.
Game Date/Time: Sunday, April 29, 9:30 p.m. ET
Location: FedEx Arena, Memphis, Tenn.