A grueling seven-game playoff battle proved the Los Angeles Clippers and Memphis Grizzlies possess championship aspirations after spending numerous seasons accumulating extra ping-pong balls for the draft lottery.
Los Angeles hosts Memphis on Wednesday night in the teams' season opener, 5 1/2 months after the Clippers knocked off the Grizzlies in the first round.
The Clippers (40-26) qualified for the postseason for the first time since 2005-2006 after acquiring Chris Paul from New Orleans in the offseason, teaming him with young star forward Blake Griffin. Los Angeles signed Griffin to a five-year, $95 million extension in July.
Shortly after, Griffin had surgery to repair a torn left medial meniscus he suffered while practicing with Team USA for the Olympics. He said he's fully recovered and ready to help guide the previously floundering franchise to its first consecutive playoff appearances since 1991-92 and 1992-93.
''We're up there with anybody,'' Griffin said. ''We can pla...