Clippers vs. Grizzlies

FINAL | April 25, 2013 | FedExForum | Memphis, TN

Clippers Logo

20

19

23

20

82

Grizzlies Logo

23

24

23

24

94

 

Eric Patten

MEMPHIS – Owning a two-game lead in their opening round playoff series, the Clippers said they knew the Memphis Grizzlies would come out desperate.

Knowing and matching it are two different things.

The Clippers could not keep Memphis off the foul line and never overcame a 12-point second quarter deficit despite holding the Grizzlies to 38.8% shooting at FedEx Forum Thursday night in Game 3. The Clippers lost, 94-82, and it seemed Memphis may have made a series of things.

The loss snaps a nine-game winning streak for the Clippers, who still lead the best-of-seven series 2-1 with Game 4 looming Saturday afternoon in Memphis.

Afterwards Chris Paul was asked if the Clippers matched the Grizzlies’ intensity. “At times, but not the way we needed to,” Paul responded. “They made some good adjustments and now it will be our opportunity to make our adjustments. Game 4 will be a big game for both of us. We know we need this game so we can go back home and have an opportunity to close it out.”

 

To put themselves in that position, the Clippers will likely need to avoid repeating a Game 3 that resembled exactly the kind of slugfest the Grizzlies prefer. Both teams shot lower than 40% from the field and thanks to a combined 51 fouls there was never a rhythm.

Memphis got 27 points from All-Star Zach Randolph, including 18 in the first half and nine from the foul line. The Grizzlies were 28-of-38 at the line for the game compared to 21-of-23 for Los Angeles.

Blake Griffin scored 16 points. Matt Barnes scored 12 points off the bench and Paul had eight points, six rebounds, four assists, three steals and five turnovers. Paul went 4-for-11 from the field a game after knocking down four baskets in the fourth quarter including a runner with one-tenth of a second left to preserve a two-point win in Game 2.

Grizzlies head coach Lionel Hollins said, “We didn’t make any adjustments [on Paul]. We just played what we do better.”

What the Grizzlies do is play defense at a high level. They forced 18 Clippers miscues, leading to 17 Grizzlies points. And seemingly each time the Clippers were closing the gap, something costly would prevent them from getting back in the game.

After Lamar Odom drew a charging foul on Randolph with Memphis up by six early in the fourth quarter, Eric Bledsoe lost the ball in the lane and Quincy Pondexter finished off an unconventional 4-point possession in which he missed his second of two free throws, grabbed his own rebound and drew another foul on a made layup.

Pondexter’s play resulted in four of his playoff career-high 13 points off the bench for Memphis and marked the last time the Clippers were as close as six.

“We turned it over, but you’ve got to give them credit,” said Chauncey Billups, who scored 11 points including two 3-pointers. “A lot of those turnovers were because of them. Some of the shots we had to shoot late in the shot clock, firing shots up, those are turnovers, too, even though they don’t count as a turnover.”

The Clippers were down by as many as 14 points in the third quarter, but an 8-2 to close pulled them within eight. Crawford had five points in the stretch, including a 3-pointer from the right wing. Odom made a shot from nearly the same spot on the next possession and Jamal Crawford capped the run with a running bank shot off a feed on the break from Bledsoe.

It was clear from the early going that the Grizzlies were dictating the pace of the game. They were back to their swarming brand of defense that forced lengthy, sometimes fruitless Clippers’ possessions as Billups alluded to and offensively Randolph had his best half of the series.

He scored 18 points in the opening 24 minutes, mostly on the interior, helping draw a combined five fouls on Griffin and Jordan.

“He was aggressive early tonight, got to the free throw line a lot in the first quarter and first half,” Griffins said. “He shot eight free throws in the first half that’s something that we’ve got to do a better job of, not fouling.”

The fouls and free throws helped cause the Clippers to sputter offensively. Paul was held without an assist and committed three of the Clippers’ 10 first-half turnovers and they had a series-low 14 assists on the night.

STAT LEADERS

Randolph had 27 points (9-18 FG, 9-10 FT) with 11 rebounds, two assists, one steal and five fouls in 37:29.

Caron Butler scored 10 points (3-6 FG, 2-4 3PT, 2-2 FT) with two rebounds and a blocked shot in 23:34.

DeAndre Jordan had two points (1-3 FG) with a team-high eight rebounds and three blocked shots in 24:29. He did not play in the fourth quarter.

QUOTEABLES

On turnovers:

Paul: “It’s uncharacteristic of us, especially me. I had five turnovers and our turnovers led to 17 of their points… We’ve just got to be better.”

On why the offense struggled:

Barnes: “We were on the shot clock all night. They did a good job of stopping us the first time. They’re a good defensive team so we’ve got to do a better job of moving the ball from side to side and not relying on one or two people. We’ve got a lot of weapons on this team so we’ve just got to move the ball and take open shots.”

On playing in a hostile environment:

Billups: “We feel like we can win in this building. We’ll play with a little more urgency I believe on Saturday.”

NOTES

Marc Gasol was presented with his Defensive Player of the Year Award at center court prior to the game. He is the first European player to win the award. He finished with 16 points and eight rebounds… The Clippers lost for the second time in team history with a 2-0 series lead. They have never gone up 3-0… For the second consecutive game, the Clippers recorded 10 blocked shots, tying a franchise playoff record… The bench outscored Memphis, 35-30, a far cry from the 19-point advantage in Game 2… The Grizzlies had a dozen more rebounds (45-33), including a 17-5 advantage on the offensive glass…