Clippers vs. Grizzlies

FINAL | April 20, 2013 | Staples Center | Los Angeles, CA

Grizzlies Logo

21

30

18

22

91

Clippers Logo

29

28

18

37

112

 

Rafael Guerrero

LOS ANGELES – This time Game 1 between the Los Angeles Clippers and Memphis Grizzlies was not quite as historic as last year’s 27-point comeback victory by the Clippers, but there was plenty of action and chaos in the fourth quarter as the overall result remained the same.

Seven players scored in double figures led by Chris Paul’s 23 points and seven assists as the Clippers ran away with a 112-91 wire-to-wire victory over the Grizzlies Saturday night at Staples Center to take a 1-0 series lead.

 

“Really good overall performance from us,” Clippers head coach Vinny Del Negro said. “I was pleased with the way we rebounded the basketball. They make it really difficult with their high-low action with Marc [Gasol] and Zach [Randolph] obviously.”

The Clippers (56-26, 1-0) outscored the Grizzlies 37-22 (56-26, 0-1) in the fourth quarter to turn a close game into a rout and got their usual well-rounded performance from their second unit as they outscored the Grizzlies reserves, 49-40.

“Our bench is one of our strengths and for us I think that a night we can provide energy and come out and play with a lot of heart and passion I think it makes it easier on everybody,” said Clippers shooting guard Jamal Crawford, who was one of three reserves to score in double-figures for the Clippers and finished with 13 points.

The Clippers also outworked the Grizzlies on the glass, doubling up the visitors 47-23 in the rebounding department including a 14-4 edge in offensive rebounds, resulting in a 25-5 advantage for the Clippers in second chance points.

“I was proud of the way we executed our game plan keeping them off the boards,” said Blake Griffin, who scored 10 points on 3-of-9 shooting and fouled out with 3:32 remaining. “Offensively we got what we want, guys were attacking, guys hit shots and took open shots. The biggest thing was the offensive rebounding; not allowing them to get second chance points is huge.”

The game was expected to be a back-and-forth affair and, for three quarters, the teams did not disappoint.

The Clippers jumped out to an eight-point lead after the first quarter thanks to 10-for-18 shooting in the period, led by Caron Butler’s 4-for-5 performance for nine first-quarter points. They expanded that lead to 13 points early in the second quarter before the Grizzlies finally began to push back.

They went 11-for-17 in the quarter and cut the deficit to one before going into the locker room trailing 57-51. Marc Gasol scored eight points in the period on 3-for-4 shooting for the Grizzlies.

Paul came out and scored seven straight points to start the third quarter to balloon the Clippers lead back to double-digits, but the Grizzlies continued to grind and eventually cut their deficit to one early in the fourth quarter.

Moment of Truth. The Grizzlies never led in the game, but they came very close early in the fourth quarter when Keyon Dooling drained a 27-foot 3-pointer with a hand in his face to cut the Clippers lead to 77-76 with 10:11 left.

That’s when the Clippers second unit responded, going on a 9-1 run to regain a comfortable cushion and the team never looked back, outscoring the Grizzlies 35-15 in the final 10 minutes.

“We’re used to that,” Paul said. “We have the best bench in the league and when they bring it like that. I mean we sat in the fourth quarter until there was like five minutes left. Most teams can’t do that and I stay in Bledsoe’s ear because he’s the catalyst. He’s the guy that’s a game changer and when he’s playing with that aggressive mentality on both ends of the court then we’re tough to beat.”

Playoff Performer. Eric Bledsoe erupted for the Clippers, scoring 13 of his 15 points in the final 12 minutes, going 6-for-6 from the field. He did it all for the Clippers in the final period, attacking the glass with six rebounds and getting his teammates involved as he dished out four assists. He finished the game a perfect 7-for-7 from the field in just 18 minutes.

“I don’t kind of know when I’m getting back in [the game],” Bledsoe said. “So, I just try to use my minutes the best way I can just by helping my team.”

Stat Leaders.

Chauncey Billups had 14 points on 4-for-8 shooting in 21:28. He had two rebounds and was 2-for-4 from beyond the arc.

Caron Butler had 13 points on 6-for-9 shooting in 23:59. He added seven rebounds and one block.

Jerryd Bayless led the Grizzlies with 19 points on 6-for-12 shooting in 30:16 off the bench. He was a perfect 5-for-5 from the free throw line and connected on two 3-pointers to go along with three assists.

 

Quotables.

On Bledsoe’s Performance:

Bayless. “He played well tonight and he got some rebounds and got some easy looks at the hoop. We can’t give a guy like that easy looks at the hoop and he was able to get a lot of easy looks.”

On physical play down low against Zach Randolph:

Griffin. “It’s going to be physical every single game. It’s the way he likes to play and that’s the way you have to play. As long as at the end of the game we’re winning that rebounding battle and we’re up, I’m cool with it.”

Looking ahead to Game 2

Billups. “We executed and did what we were supposed to do. But that’s just one game. One game down, and we have a big game on Monday."

NOTES

Keyon Dooling was called for a technical foul in the second quarter after throwing the ball off Ryan Hollins after the whistle had been blown… Clippers assistant coach Robert Pack was issued a technical foul in the third quarter… DeAndre Jordan didn’t light up the scoreboard with just three points, but he helped the Clippers win the rebounding battle as he grabbed a team-high eight rebounds… The Grizzlies finished with just 23 rebounds, a franchise-low for a postseason game… Memphis allowed more than 112 points in one game during the regular season… The 21-point victory was the second largest margin of victory in the postseason for the Clippers in franchise history (the 2005-06 team beat the Phoenix Suns by 25 in Game 2 of the Western Conference Semifinals).

 

 

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