The Memphis Grizzlies are a tough team to play at home. In their first 23 home games they lost a total of six times with only one of those losses occurring while power forward Zach Randolph was in the lineup.
Randolph played in the Grizzlies’ first four games of the season before suffering the MCL strain that forced the Grizzlies to play most of the season without him. Memphis played well in his absence going 14-5 at home and 9-9 on the road.
The Grizzlies have dominated at home since Randolph returned though. Memphis lost their last home game of the season when Randolph returned from injury on March 16th; a tough 114-110 overtime loss to the Toronto Raptors.
Marc Gasol and Marreese Speights have proven this season that they can be a a formidable tandem in the middle but Randolph is a matchup nightmare for just about any player in the league. With Randolph back in the lineup the Grizzlies finished the season 11-0 at home.
And that spells bad news for the Los Angeles Clippers who will have to face Memphis in the first round. The Clippers were in in the driver's seat for the fourth playoff spot in the West but they ended their season 1-3 giving the surging Grizzlies home court advantage in their first round matchup.
Not that the Clippers were all that easy to beat in Los Angeles. They finished the season going 11-1 at home with their only loss coming at the hands of the team they share a stadium with, the Los Angeles Lakers.
But in order for the Clippers to have a chance to advance past the first round of the playoffs, they will have to win at least one game in Memphis which isn’t about to happen. Not if Randolph has any say in the matter that is.
Roosevelt Hall is an NFL Blogger for The Sport Mentalist and an NBA Blogger for The Sport Mentalist 2. He is also a Sports Reporter for Pro Sports Lives. He can be contacted at RHall_TPFB@Yahoo.com and be sure to follow him on Twitter @sportmentalist.