Clippers vs. Grizzlies preview: West powers square off in Memphis

Stephen Dunn

Both the Clippers and Grizzlies will look to get back to their winning ways after disappointing losses on Saturday. This will be the second meeting between the two teams this season, as Los Angeles beat Memphis on opening night.

Two of the top teams in the Western Conference will square off on Monday night when the Los Angeles Clippers travel to Memphis to take on the Grizzlies.

The last time the Clippers were at the FedExForum, they were busy ending the Grizzlies' season, defeating Memphis 82-72 in Game 7 of the 2012 Western Conference Quarterfinals. Los Angeles hopes to rekindle the good memories in that building as they look to get back to their winning ways at the start of a three-game road trip.

The Clippers saw their 13-game home winning streak snapped on Saturday afternoon by the Orlando Magic, who stunned Los Angeles with a fourth quarter rally and ended a 10-game losing streak of their own. Blake Griffin had 30 points and Chris Paul dished out 16 assists, but the Clippers folded on both sides of the ball in a wretched fourth quarter. Grant Hill went scoreless in his season debut.

Despite the loss, Los Angeles still sits at 28-9 on the season, atop the Pacific Division and one game behind the Oklahoma City Thunder in the West.

Memphis will also be coming into Monday's game off a disappointing loss, as they were embarrassed 104-83 by the Dallas Mavericks on Saturday. The Grizzlies played undoubtedly one of their worst games of the season in Dallas, shooting 38.1 percent from the field, getting out-rebounded by one of the worst rebounding teams in the league and giving up a scorching 64.7 percent shooting from beyond the arc.

Memphis is 24-11 on the year, three games behind Los Angeles in the West. The Grizzlies had won four straight games prior to their egg against the Mavs, including a thrilling overtime win over the San Antonio Spurs on Friday night. That taxing win could certainly have had something to do with the poor performance against Dallas the next night.

This will be the second meeting this season between the Clippers and Grizzlies, who are two of the best defensive teams in the NBA. Los Angeles handled Memphis 101-92 on opening night at the Staples Center, extending the Grizzlies' losing streak in openers to 12. Jamal Crawford scored 29 points off the bench to lead the Clippers to victory.

That Clippers bench has been dynamite all season, and while Hill struggled in his debut, his return should only bolster its firepower. That unit contributes over 40 percent of Los Angeles' scoring, which gives it a serious advantage over a Memphis bench that has not been nearly as potent so far this season. Crawford leads the league in bench scoring at 16.2 points per game.

The battle up front should also be intriguing, with Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan matching up against Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol. Randolph has had a lot of success against the Clippers going back to last year's playoffs and currently leads the league in double-doubles with 24. Griffin leads Los Angeles in scoring (17.0 points per game) and rebounding (9.0 points per game).

Tip-off is set for 8 p.m. ET.

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