For starters, it was the Grizzlies 12th consecutive opening-night loss, the longest current streak in any of the four major team sports, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
Secondly, the game felt very much like a continuation of this spring's playoff series between the two teams: It was an intense, physical, closely fought game decided by a big disparity in bench production and fourth-quarter execution.
The Grizzlies four-man bench unit was outscored 49-17, with the Clippers getting a game-high 29 points from new addition Jamal Crawford and bruising, efficient play from Eric Bledsoe (13-4-4 in 17 minutes). Meanwhile, the Grizzlies perimeter reserves Jerryd Bayless, Wayne Ellington, and Quincy Pondexter combined to shoot 3-17. As a team, the Grizzlies shot only 2-14 from three-point range.
Bench production and team-wide three-point shooting are big questions facing the Grizzlies this season, and the team will have to get more in both areas than they got in Game 1 to have a successful season. But, those issues aside, there wasn't much here to get too worked up about yet.
Zach Randolph struggled to make shots, hitting 5-15 from the floor and 5-9 from the free-throw line, but he looked fine physically, was beastly on the boards (16, with 7 on the offensive glass), and wrestled — literally! — Blake Griffin (who had 11 and 7 on 4-10 shooting) mostly to a draw.
Mike Conley, seemingly primed for a breakout season, picked up two early fouls and struggled offensively all game (2-10 from the floor with 6 turnovers), but those problems obscured an impressive defensive performance, generating 3 steals and matching up well physically with the league's best point guard in Chris Paul.
The Grizzlies stay in California with a chance to get on track Friday night against the Golden State Warriors.
If you missed it yesterday, check out this terrific piece from Grantland's Jonathan Abrams, who was granted unusual access to the team and it's coaching staff in particular, during the preseason.