Updated: April 22, 2013, 4:28 PM ET

Around the Association

Why the Grizzlies will bounce back

By Bradford Doolittle | ESPN Insider

One of the league's most proactive teams during the regular season was the Memphis Grizzlies, who traded leading scorer Rudy Gay to the Toronto Raptors at the end of January. In doing so, Memphis shook up a roster that seemed on the fringe of the championship derby, a decision that directed a lot of flak at the team's new decision-makers.

The results were glowingly positive for the denizens of Beale Street, but after the Grizzlies coughed and sputtered their way through a Game 1 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers, skeptics might wonder if Gay's absence is finally being felt. TNT play-by-play announcer Ian Eagle floated just that notion during the Oklahoma City-Houston broadcast Sunday night. Ultimately, Memphis' problem Saturday was indeed personnel related. The persons in question, however, were the men with whistles, not the subjects of any three-month-old transactions.

Read the rest of Doolittle's column here Insider

5-on-5: What to make of opening weekend

It was a busy opening weekend of the NBA playoffs. Our experts have it all covered. Let's debate!

1. What was the most pleasant surprise of the opening weekend?

Jared Dubin, Hardwood Paroxysm: Just average defensively this season, the Knicks won most of their games on the strength of a top-3 offense that didn't show up in Game 1. That they were able to jump out to a 1-0 lead on the Celtics by winning an ugly, half-court game with a fantastic defensive effort in the second half was indeed a pleasant surprise. The Knicks held Boston to just eight fourth-quarter points while forcing eight turnovers in the frame.

D.J. Foster, ClipperBlog: Brooklyn's offense. Watching Brooklyn lay waste to Chicago's vaunted defense was stunning, but the Nets have been quietly great offensively for quite some time now. The Nets rank third in offensive efficiency over the past 20 games, mainly because Deron Williams is scoring at an elite level. That said, no one saw this drubbing coming.

Beckley Mason, ESPN.com: The Clippers look like contenders. Blake Griffin and Zach Randolph wrestled to a draw, but the Clippers collectively looked sharp and focused in Game 1. Chris Paul, in particular, was dynamite, and the Clippers' muscular, athletic performance suggests they could really threaten the Thunder should they meet in Round 2. Jerry Stackhouse nailing his rendition of the national anthem before Game 1 in Brooklyn is a close second.

Danny Nowell, Portland Roundball: Andre Miller. Denver's point guard has been more venerable than electric for several years already, but his performance on Saturday was one of the most fun efforts this season. Twenty-eight points on 11-of-16 shooting and a game-winning layup is more than enough to snag this honor.

Ethan Sherwood Strauss, Warriors World: It looked like Andre Miller was schooling young Draymond Green on that game-winning layup. But really, Miller was shaking Father Time himself. Miller seized the playoff stage and delivered what might be the best postseason game ever by a middle-aged man, moving at 2 mph. We are all witnesses to a 37-year-old point guard with no All-Star track record scoring 28 points in 27 minutes of court time. Incredible.

For the rest of the discussion, click here