GAME 5 NOTEBOOK: MO WILLIAMS LEADS CLIPPERS WITH 20 POINTS
Eric Patten (@ericpatten) | 5/9/12

MEMPHIS–With the Clippers stars hobbled and time escaping any chance of a comeback in Game 5, Mo Williams took over.

The Clippers’ leading reserve had his best scoring game of the series, totaling a team-high 20 points on 8-for-21 shooting and canning three 3-pointers.

Williams, who is third on the team with 11.4 points per game in the series, was undeterred by the degree of difficulty on a number of his jumpers.

He hit a fadeaway 3-pointer in front of the Clippers bench with the 24-second clock about to expire. He retrieved a loose ball and dribbled into a 3-pointer on the left wing over Dante Cunningham, again, as the shot clock wound down. And knocked down an elbow jumper and tossed an alley oop to Blake Griffin on consecutive possessions.

Those plays all came before halftime.

In the fourth, with Griffin less than 100% on a sprained left knee and Paul shuttling on and off the floor with a strained right hipflexor, Williams took onus to pick up the scoring load. He made three baskets down the stretch, including a pull-up jumper from the elbow to cut Memphis’ lead to six after a Rudy Gay airball on the other end.

RALLY COMES UP SHORT

The Clippers went on a 28-10 run across the third and fourth quarters to cut the Grizzlies’ 24-point deficit to six. And despite several missed opportunities, a layup by Randy Foye made it 86-80 with just under a minute to play.

It was somewhat reminiscent of their comeback win in Game 1 with the Grizzlies struggling mightily from the field and the crowd turning anxious. Gay halted the run to some degree with a bank shot in the fourth and then iced it with an offensive rebound off a missed free throw and tough runner with 19 seconds left.

Memphis pulled out the game, but afterwards, Clippers head coach Vinny Del Negro said he was pleased with his team’s fight.

“We couldn’t get over the hump a little bit, but our guys kept fighting and kept battling,” Del Negro said. “We didn’t shoot the ball well enough tonight, turned it over a little too much in the second half and didn’t shoot it well enough. But we kept fighting and got after it defensively in the second half. We made them work for everything, and got out on the break. We just weren’t able to convert. We didn’t shoot a high enough percentage to put enough pressure on them.”

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