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Tuesday, March 12, 2013
Clippers prepared for Grizzlies' physicality

By Arash Markazi

PLAYA VISTA, Calif. -- Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin got to know Memphis Grizzlies forward Zach Randolph well during last season's grueling seven-game playoff series. They got into each other's faces on more than a few occasions then, and again during this season's opener.

Griffin is preparing for another physical battle Wednesday when the Clippers face the Grizzlies.

When Griffin was asked if Randolph gets under Griffin's skin, he said, "He tries to." When Griffin was asked if Randolph is successful getting under his skin, he said, "No."

Randolph-Griffin
Zach Randolph, left, of the Grizzlies, and Blake Griffin of the Clippers have been in a number of physical battles when the teams play.
"You just keep playing," Griffin said. "You don't even acknowledge it. You just keep going.

"I think it's their style of play as a team in general. They like to grind it out. They're physical down low. Not just with one guy but all their bigs. That's just the kind of style they play."

Clippers guard Chauncey Billups said Wednesday's game against Memphis will be a good test for the Clippers when it comes to the physicality they can expect in the playoffs.

"I would say they are the most physical team in the league," Billups said. "They play the game the way it used to be played with some of my Detroit teams when the game was more physical and the rules were a little different. They haven't changed to the new rules. I like that, though. I can appreciate that."

The winner of Wednesday's game will become the No. 3 seed in the West with fewer than 20 games left in the season. After the two teams' battles last season, Griffin said there won't be any surprises when they take the court.

"We definitely know what to expect and we know exactly how they play -- getting to play them seven games in a row in two and a half weeks is very telling," Griffin said. "You learn a lot how to play them, so we're better off against them today."

As big as the game is for the Clippers from a seeding perspective, Griffin was cautious not to put too much weight on a regular-season game with the playoffs around the corner. The Clippers, however, would like to play better against Western Conference playoff teams after dropping three games to San Antonio, Oklahoma City and Denver since the All-Star break.

"It will be a good test for us, but I don't know about a statement game," Griffin said. "Regular-season games are regular-season games. It's important to win them, especially the big games, but the games we're looking forward to are the playoff games. We want to have the best placement possible, but we're not worried about it."

Clippers guard Jamal Crawford returned to practice Tuesday and was expected to play Wednesday after missing the past two games because of a sore left ankle. Clippers guard Eric Bledsoe, however, did not practice Tuesday and is expected to miss Wednesday’s game as he recovers from a sore left calf. Clippers forward Caron Butler will also miss the game because of a strained left elbow.