• It’s the last Tuesday of the NBA regular season and it’s filled with five games on the schedule. I’m not gonna lie, finding the ‘must watch’ game of the night was difficult today. I was looking over the slate of games and my initial reaction was a yawn. Most of these teams have already clinched their playoff spot while the others are just trying to finish the season out. Nevertheless, I found a game that I feel holds some gravitas and should bring a bit of excitement to your day. Here is Tuesday’s ‘must watch’ game of the night.

    The Honorable Mentions: The Thunder go up against the Spurs and the Heat make their way to the Motor City to face the Pistons.

    I know what you’re thinking, how in the world do I not have the Thunder and Spurs as the ‘must watch’ game tonight? I understand the frustration, but it’s the Spurs and the playoffs are around the corner. No news has come out yet, but with the undefeated home court record out of reach and a 10.5 game lead over the Thunder, it would not be a big surprise to hear that Popovich decides to rest some of his guys. I’m being cautious for you, the viewer, so you don’t have to sit through a boring contest. Let’s just move on to the ‘must watch’ game of the night shall we?

    (Update: Thunder to rest starters)

    Memphis Grizzlies vs. Los Angeles Clippers

    Tip Time: 10:30 pm (est)

    Where: Staples Center, Los Angeles, CA

    Player Matchup: Jeff Green vs. Matt Barnes

    The Grizzlies (42-38) sit just a half game back from the Blazers for the fifth seed in the Western Conference. The Griz are depleted and no matter who they match up against in the playoffs, a sweep is to be expected. Now with that said, if Memphis was to make any noise in the postseason, the team they would have their best chances with would be the Clippers.

    The fortitude this Memphis team has shown after losing Marc Gasol and Mike Conley has been admirable. Many people, including myself, saw the loss of their two franchise players and assumed that the team would begin to tank. Instead, they have stayed together and have found ways to scrap together a few wins to keep their heads above water.

    “We battled, we got loose balls, we got offensive rebounds, and we got into the paint,” head coach Dave Joerger told the team’s official site. “I’m just really proud of our guys and proud of our season.”

    Former Clipper Matt Barnes has been a steady contributor over his last four games, averaging 18.5 points and 8.5 rebounds per game. Zach Randolph has also stepped up as the team’s leader and No. 1 offensive option, averaging 17.4 points and 7.4 rebounds over his last ten games.

    For the Clippers (52-28), it has been another year of people saying the same old thing – ‘how good are the Clips?’ I know I have said it at least once or twice this season, and even if you ask me right now that would probably be the first thought in my head.

    Blake Griffin is starting to work his way back to NBA form since returning from his injury and suspension. Sunday was the first time Griffin saw 30+ minutes of action since his return and he finished the game with 17 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists.

    The Clippers know that they need to become more creative with their lineups with the playoffs approaching. Head coach Doc Rivers would like to test his versatility of his roster in a small-ball lineup and shift Griffin to the center position.

    “I want to see him at his normal position 95 percent of the time,” Rivers said to the team’s official site. “But, yeah, I want to see him at the five at times, too.”

    Looking at the playoff picture as it stands now, the Clips would be facing the Blazers in the first round. With Memphis just a half game behind Portland, the Clippers would benefit from having the Grizzlies win. The Griz are basically looked at as a first round bye and for an L.A. team trying to reincorporate one of their star players, an easier first round matchup would be beneficial.

    The Clippers also want to stay healthy heading into the postseason. Be sure to stay close to Hoop Ball for any updates on the players’ statuses before tip-off.

     

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