Originally posted on Fox Sports West  |  Last updated 10/30/12
PLAYA VISTA, Calif. Tough losses fester, which is why the Memphis Grizzles have probably been counting the days until Wednesday night's season opener against the Clippers at Staples Center. The Grizzlies remember their grueling, physical seven-game playoff series loss to the Clippers last spring. Five months later, they get a chance for payback or a measure of it. "Any time you lose to a team in a playoff series, it's a bitter taste in your mouth," Clippers forward Caron Butler said Tuesday. "Every day you go work out in the gym, watch film over the summer, (you) remember those last moments on the court. We beat them in a Game 7 at Memphis, so that's a tough loss and a tough feeling I know they carry with them. They've been talking about this game for quite a while." What a way to start the season. If it's not a rivalry, it must be close. The Clippers aren't exactly at full strength, but the core of their starting lineup Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan and Butler is healthy. Their bench, expected to be among the best in the NBA, is short-handed. Forward Matt Barnes is serving a league-ordered one-game suspension after pleading no contest on a charge of resisting arrest in July. Lamar Odom (bone bruise, left knee) practiced for a second day in a row and probably will play, but Grant Hill (bone bruise, right knee) is out and Chauncey Billups (Achilles tendon surgery) won't play at least until November. "Our depth is good if guys are healthy," coach Vinny Del Negro said. "With Chauncey out and Grant and Lamar out, those three guys give us a lot of depth. We don't have that right now. Hopefully we can get them back, and that'll change the complexion of our team." The Clippers and Grizzlies played a rousing first-round playoff series that may have turned in the first game. The Clippers came back from a 27-point deficit in the second half to win the game 99-98. They were 21 points down at the start of the fourth quarter, tying them for the largest comeback win entering the final period in NBA playoff history, and outscored Memphis 28-3 over the final 9 minutes, 11 seconds. The Clippers took a 3-1 lead in games, but lost two in a row and had to win Game 7 in Memphis. "That was last year. This is a different year, different teams," Del Negro said. "It's a season opener. We've got a lot of work to do before we get back to feeling real comfortable." Blake Griffin dismissed any notion that the Clippers-Grizzlies are budding rivalry as a result of their playoff series. But he agreed that it was competitive. "That word gets thrown around a little too much nowadays," he said. "It was definitely a good series, definitely back and forth, but it has to be more to become a rivalry. We look forward to playing them and we look forward to the competition that it brings and the strength that they bring." There will be plenty of that. The Grizzlies are loaded again with Zach Randolph, Marc Gasol and Rudy Gay providing size and scoring up front and guard Mike Conley in the backcourt. "It was obviously a physical series last year," Del Negro said. "They pound the ball in the paint with Zach and Gasol. Conley has improved, Rudy Gay is a difficult cover, they have a difficult front line. There's no easy games, but it's our opener. I expect us to play hard, play well. We're going to have to." A productive start will help the Clippers reach what Butler says are the team's "high expectations." "We want to win," he said. "We want to win a lot, and we want to win the whole thing. That's a realistic goal with the guys we have in this locker room. The first challenge starts tomorrow night the first of many -- so we look forward to it."
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Jones has no problem telling other NFL owners to ‘pipe down’

Richard Sherman shades Bills for benching Tyrod Taylor

Report: D’Onta Foreman believed to have torn Achilles’ tendon

Hue Jackson sticking with DeShone Kizer for Week 12

Report: Josh Rosen especially upset over Jim Mora firing

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Michael Irvin goes on bizarre rant about offensive linemen

White House social media director takes shot at LaVar Ball

Clay Matthews leaves Week 11 game with groin injury

Jim Mora fired by UCLA

WATCH: Texans celebrate Lamar Miller TD with relay in end zone

Hue Jackson reportedly wants more control in front office

Sports & Politics Intersect: Is Jerry out of his league?

The 'An I, Tonya for an eye (or knee)' quiz

Should the Broncos make Tyrod Taylor their next quarterback?

15 mid-majors you need to know before you hear about them in March

NCAA college football 2017 Week 12 predictions

NFL Week 11 predictions

Follow Ben Simmons as he leads us to the NBA's unknown future

The Saints flipped the script to revive their season

The 15 best and 15 worst MLB signings of the last decade

The 'It's a major award!' quiz

Vikings' unnecessary quarterback conundrum is Mike Zimmer's doing

Time to admit the Blues are good, but can they be great?

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Yardbarker Privacy Policy and Terms of Service. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

NFL Week 11 injury report

Sports & Politics Intersect: Is Jerry out of his league?

15 mid-majors you need to know before you hear about them in March

The 'An I, Tonya for an eye (or knee)' quiz

Should the Broncos make Tyrod Taylor their next quarterback?

The 15 best and 15 worst MLB signings of the last decade

The 'It's a major award!' quiz

Follow Ben Simmons as he leads us to the NBA's unknown future

The Saints flipped the script to revive their season

NFL Week 11 predictions

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker