Clippers vs. Grizzlies

FINAL | April 22, 2013 | Staples Center | Los Angeles, CA

Grizzlies Logo

26

18

27

20

91

Clippers Logo

26

24

25

18

93

 

Eric Patten

LOS ANGELES – Chris Paul has often said he lives for “winning time.”

But of all of his game-winning plays, nothing likely tops what went down in the final seconds of Game 2 against the Memphis Grizzlies.

With the game tied and 13.9 seconds on the clock, Paul turned the corner on Tony Allen and made a right-handed runner around both Allen and Darrell Arthur with 0.1 to go. The shot, part of Paul’s extraordinary second half, gave the Clippers a 93-91 victory Monday at Staples Center and a 2-0 series lead for only the second time in franchise history.

The team heads for Memphis for Games 3 and 4. They have never swept a four-game playoff series.

“We found a way to win the game today,” Clippers head coach Vinny Del Negro said. “Blake [Griffin] was aggressive early and set the tone for us. Chris made the plays down the stretch. Everybody stepped up at some time during the game.”

Paul finished with 24 points and nine assists and seemingly made every shot necessary to escape with a their second win of the series. He nailed three mid-range jumpers to counter Memphis baskets in the fourth quarter before scoring on the final play.

The Grizzlies tried a desperation inbounds pass to tip in a basket at the buzzer, but to no avail. 


Griffin scored 13 of his 21 points in the first quarter, helping the Clippers offset an early six-point deficit. Jamal Crawford, who found out earlier Monday that he was the second-place finisher for the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year Award behind J.R. Smith, had 15 points off the bench, including 13 in the second quarter.

“The first half I think I was just really trying to be aggressive and the second half they paid more attention,” Crawford said. “But I think that’s what’s special about this team. The first quarter Blake had it going; the second quarter I had it going and the third and fourth Chris had it going you know. So when we’re going like that and I think with all three of us especially being the leading scorers this season we shoot a high percentage like that it’s tough for any team to deal with."

The Clippers knew Memphis would be desperate Monday. But they withstood every charge, including a 9-2 run that turned what looked like a fairly easy win into a tie game with 1:37 remaining. Paul answered out of a timeout to break the tie with a stepback jumper, his third of the period, and finished with eight points in the fourth, all in the final four minutes.

The Grizzlies made eight of their first 10 shots, earned a lead as large as six points and looked poised to reverse course after an overwhelming final quarter two nights early. However, Griffin’s 13-point first quarter and the steady hand of Paul evened things up by the end of the first.

That’s when Crawford took over. He scored 11 points in quick succession, helping the Clippers bench maintain a three-point lead over the nearly the first seven minutes of the second quarter. Crawford was his usual dizzying self, connecting on shots that rainbowed over Jerryd Bayless and twisting around Bayless and Tony Allen with dribbling aesthetics.

STAT LEADERS

Mike Conley had a game-high 28 points (9-18 FG, 1-5 3PT, 9-13 FT) with nine assists, two steals and three rebounds.

Griffin had 21 points (9-18 FG, 3-5 FT) with eight rebounds, four assists and one of the Clippers’ franchise-playoff record 10 blocked shots.

Crawford scored 15 points off the bench (6-10 FG, 1-3 3PT, 2-2 FT) with three steals, two rebounds and one assist.

QUOTABLES

On getting shots at the rim:

Matt Barnes: “They’re big but they don’t have any shot blockers. That’s something we can attack. We’ve got an athletic team and we can hit the offensive glass hard. I think that’s been the key so far. We’re getting second-chance points and high percentage shots in the paint.”

On the difficulty playing against the Clippers and key to success tonight:

Mike Conley: “They’re a good defensive team obviously. If it’s not Chris (Paul) guarding me it’s Eric Bledsoe. So I mean they got a tandem of guys that play defense but tonight, early on I think I was able to get into the paint and make plays and score, which got me able to open up the floor a little bit more for my guys and open up my game a little bit. I just tried to be aggressive in the pick-and-roll, get to it early so they couldn’t talk it out in their coverages.”

On his first quarter play:

Blake Griffin: “Everybody just told me to be aggressive, and my teammates got me open shots, got me easy looks, and it just gets me going.”

NOTES

The Clippers shot 55.5% from 2-point range and just 13.3% from beyond the 3-point arc… They out-rebounded Memphis, 40-38, the fourth consecutive game they have done so dating back to the last two regular-season meetings… The Clippers have won nine in a row overall and have defeated Memphis six of the last seven games they’ve met… The bench outscored Memphis’ bench 30-11… Zach Randolph was hamstrung by foul trouble for the second-straight game, playing 30:53 and scoring just 13 points with eight rebounds. Randolph averaged a double-double in the regular season…. Allen had 16 points on 6-of-9 shooting with 10 rebounds… Jordan had four blocked shots and eight rebounds. He’s grabbed 16 boards in the first two games of the series combined…

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