This might be the most highlight worthy series starting this weekend. Both of these teams have a lot of promise and we'll see who shows up.
Grizzlies: This was the darling team that made lots of noise last year plowing through the Western Conference playoffs. The beef up front in Gasol and Randolph cause enough problems of their own, but this team now has Rudy Gay back to go along with the rest of this solid team. They have a stopper in Tony Allen, a bench guy that can score when needed in OJ Mayo, and we're hoping that we get a chance to see the artist formerly known as Agent 0. This Grizzlies team is just starting to catch some momentum with the return of Randolph and will be a tough out for the Clippers.
Who has to step up:
Mike Conley. This is going to be a match up based on tempo. The Grizzlies can run, but they are best with their bigs dominating the Clippers bigs. Conley will have to control that tempo and keep the Clippers (Paul) from pushing for all of those highlight finishes by the Clippers.
The Clippers are in the playoffs!!!! Let's celebrate that for a moment. The early season trade that brought them Chris Paul is paying dividends and I even like the pick up of Nick Young who gives them some height and scoring in the backcourt. We all know about Griffin and Jordan and the dunks, but I think the Clippers are going to have to perform in the half court because this is the playoffs. This should be a very good series.
Who has to step up:
Caron Butler and Kenyon Martin. Butler has got to show up big time for this Clippers team. Foye, Paul, and Williams can shoot the 3 ball to provide some space, but I think Butler is going to have to put someone on the block and make them guard him from there. This is why the Clippers got Kenyon Martin for this playoff run. He's going to have to rebound and play the enforcer for this team if they hope to win this series. He can't let people just take Blake Griffin down like they have been doing. But Martin can't get thrown out either.
Outcome: This is a tough one, heart says Clippers, head says Grizzlies. I got the Clippers in 7.