What to watch: Clippers-Grizzlies

April, 9, 2012
4/09/12
11:18
AM PT
Clippers (34-22) vs. Memphis Grizzlies (32-23) at FedEx Forum, 5 p.m. PT

Five storylines to track:

1. Down the stretch: The Clippers finish the season playing seven of their last 10 games on the road, which includes three sets of back-to-back games on the road. The Clippers are 13-13 on the road this season, which is actually on pace for the best road record in franchise history. Since moving to Los Angeles in 1984, the Clippers have never finished a season with a .500 or better road record. The most road wins for the Clippers was 20 when they went 20-21 during the 2005-06 season. The Clippers are now 12 games over .500 (34-22) this season. It's only the third time that the Clippers have been more than five games over .500 this many games into a season since moving to L.A. They finished the season eight games over .500 in 1991-92 and 12 games over .500 in 2005-06. Those are the only two seasons in which the Clippers finished over .500 since moving to L.A.

2. Foye on fire:
Clippers guard Randy Foye has played his best basketball of the season over the past two weeks. Against the Sacramento Kings on Saturday, Foye scored 25 points (9-14 from the field) and hit 7 three-pointers, just one away from the franchise record that he set on April 2 against the Dallas Mavericks. In the last six games, Foye is the Clippers' leading scorer, totaling 121 points (20.2 points per game) while shooting 47.3 percent (43-of-91) from the field and 46.3 percent (25-of-54) from 3-point land while going a perfect 10-of-10 from the free-throw line. Foye’s 25 three-pointers in the last six games leads the NBA.



3. CP3 too much: With the season winding down Clippers guard Chris Paul is posting the kind of numbers that may land him on the All-NBA First Team for the second time in his career and first time since 2008. He posted 19 points, 15 assists, 7 steals and 5 rebounds in the Clippers' 109-94 win over the Kings on Saturday. It was the third time Paul has had at least 15 points, 15 assists, 7 steals and 5 rebounds in a game. He did it twice for the Hornets in 2009. No other player has reached those four statistical milestones in a game since Kevin Johnson did it for the Suns on April 19, 1996. The only member of the Clippers to come close was Mark Jackson, who had 19 points, 11 assists, 5 rebounds, and 8 steals on Dec. 13, 1992. Since 1985, a Clippers player has had at least 7 steals in a game just 15 times. In the last three games, Paul has been averaging 18.0 points, 13.0 assists and 4.0 steals.



4. Bledsoe’s back: After being sidelined the first six weeks of the season following off-season knee surgery and riding the bench after that, Clippers guard Eric Bledsoe has been providing a boost off the bench recently. Against the Kings on Saturday, Bledsoe had 8 points (3-of-6 from the field) and dished out a season-high 9 assists. It was the second-highest assist total of Bledsoe’s career and the most since he had 13 on Nov. 5, 2010. Against the Kings last Thursday night in Sacramento, Bledsoe had 13 points (4-of-6 from the field) and 3 rebounds in just 17 minutes off the bench for the Clippers.

5. Butler’s doing it: In the last four games, Clippers forward Caron Butler is averaging 16.8 points, 3.0 rebounds and 1.8 assists, while shooting 48.2 percent (27-of-56) from the field and 33.3 percent (7-of-21) from beyond the arc while going 6-of-6 from the foul line. Butler scored a season-high 28 points on April 4 against the Lakers, going 9-of-18 from the field, 4-of-8 from 3-point land and 6-of-6 from the line while grabbing 4 rebounds in 34 minutes. It was the most points for Butler since he had 30 on Dec. 30, 2010 as a member of the Mavericks and the first time this season Butler has had over 25 points for the Clippers.

Arash Markazi

ESPNLosAngeles.com

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