No Caron Butler for the Clippers tonight. Bobby Simmons starts instead. So the Clippers weak swing rotation has gotten even weaker.
- Chris Paul kicks the scoring off with a lob pass in transition to DeAndre Jordan. Statement play to begin the game.
- DeAndre Jordan with a terrific job altering TA’s layup shot and forcing the miss. The Clips need that defensive presence tonight. As I said in the first game, I’d like to see LAC sync up Jordan’s minutes with Marc Gasol. I think they need his size and post defense to matchup effectively with the Grizzlies’ center.
- A low scoring start, Clippers lead 6-3 after four minutes. TA just fouled Foye on a catch and shoot three, Foye made 2 of 3, so the score is 8-3 now. Bad foul by Tony Allen.
- Blake Griffin isolation on the left wing vs Marc Gasol, too slow to check Griffin, Griffin makes nice fakes left and right, gets Gasol off balance enough to maneuver his way into the paint and finishes softly going around Gasol.
- Clippers lead 14-7 after Foye nails a baseline pull up jumper
- Zach Randolph knocks down a 22 footer from the top of the key. Wide open after Clippers double Gay in the post and Memphis swing the ball around the perimeter.
- Beautiful pass by Marc Gasol from the left elbow to a cutting TA from the opposite wing to the middle of the paint for a layup.
- Chris Paul knocks down his second jumper of the night. He has 6 points.
- Terrific hustle by Memphis … Mike Conley drove hard left down the left wing off a PnR, went high off the glass over D.Jordan, misses, offensive rebound, out to TA, wide open top of the key, misses the three, Marc Gasol gets a hand on it, dives on the floor to save it from going out of bounds, knocks it to Z-Bo, who gives it back out to Conley, drives down the lane, blocked by Jordan, back out to Gasol, Conley cuts to the corner, ball swung over, shoots, misses. LAC run up the other end and get a fastbreak layup. Great effort by Memphis on that possession though to create multiple shot-attempts.
- 20-15 Clippers lead with three minutes to go in first quarter
- Marc Gasol with an offensive rebound and putback after OJ Mayo’s 17 foot wing back shot rims out. Nick Young will the pull up jumper from the right wing, knocks it down. Next possession, Marc Gasol posts up Blake Griffin, muscles him out of the way and spins baseline for the layup. Jordan has exited the game and Kenyon Martin has checked in. Now Griffin heads to the bench with Reggie Evans. Evans takes Gasol.
- Rudy Gay post up against N.Young on left post, works him over and scores easily over the top. Too big and too talented for Nick Young to check effectively. Again, I think Del Negro needs to sync up the minutes between Gay and Simmons here. Nick Young is simply too vulnerable defensively against Gay.
- Clippers lead 26-23 at the end of one. Good defense by Mayo on Paul’s isolation to deny him the shot attempt at the end of the period.
- A fastbreak two handed reverse dunk from Rudy Gay off the baseball pass outlet pass from Marreese Speights after his defensive rebound makes it a one point game, 28-27 Clippers.
- Rudy Gay clearout high post near top of the key as OJ Mayo clears out to the opposite side, drives hard left, two dribbles, pull up jumper, knocks it down. Gay has made his last four shots. Showing good patience offensively.
- OJ Mayo’s driving layup puts them up 35-34 with 7:30 to play
- Nice block by Dante Cunningham to deny Bledsoe at the rim
- Nick Young left wing, catches the baseline inbounds pass, drives hard to the paint, attacks the rim, stripped on his way up by Gay but Memphis throw it right back to LAC after gaining possession. Dumb pass by OJ Mayo I think it was to Speights who was just above the three point line with 2-3 Clippers around him. Don’t put your big man in that position.
- Tony Allen with a hard drive from the right wing down the right hand side of the floor for a layup. Three point game.
- Nick Young bags a three pointer from the left wing. Tie game.
- Marc Gasol posts up Reggie Evans, Evans gives him an opening but Gasol doesn’t take it, soft move, moves away from the hoop, Evans closes out, Gasol picks up his dribble, off balance fallaway J from 15-16 feet, misses. Bad move by Gasol.
- Speights bags a jumper from 18 feet right elbow extended to put Memphis up 43-37. Chris Paul answers right back to keep his team in this, trying to halt the run. Pondexter with a nice pass to Marc Gasol for the layup on the other end, Memphis building up a head of steam. Clippers need to be careful here. Marc Gasol with the shot-block to deny DeAndre Jordan at the rim.
- Mike Conley with the baseline drive, acrobatic foray to the rim but the shot isn’t there, kicks it out to Pondexter on the right wing, three pointer on the way, misses. Blake Griffin, on the other end, muscles up a shot out of the right block, hits it. Four point game. Posts up Marc Gasol on the left post against Jordan, fallaway J, misses again. Good defense and not so good offense there from Jordan and Gasol respectively. Timeout. I think LAC has effectively weathered the storm here. Memphis’ momentum seems to have died.
- 45-41 Memphis with 2:30 to play in first half
- Chris Paul knocks down a three pointer from the right wing. One point game.
- Mike Conley knocks down two FTs and a long jumper from the right corner (where he was fouled to get the FTs a moment earlier by D.Jordan). CHris Paul answers right back with another triple. He has 16 points on 6-8 FGAs.
Halftime – Third quarter
- Memphis leads 51-47
- DeAndre Jordan has switched matchups here. He is defending Z-Bo and Griffin has Gasol.
- Memphis give Randolph a tough on the right elbow against Jordan, goes one-on-one, dribbles right, step back jumper, swatted back by Jordan. Great block.
- On the other end, Griffin low post, left block, Z-Bo goes for the deflection on the post entry passes, misses, exposes the baseline, Griffin spins and gets the layup. Easy hoop. Next time down, Griffin slips the low PnR (18 feet right wing) with Paul, loses Randolph, pass to Griffin as he steps into the paint, goes hard and draws the foul.
- Little graphic from TNT on screen which says Griffin led the league in points in the paint this season.
- Oh, another great graphic, 435 of D.Jordan’s 440 made field goals in last two years have come inside the paint. Nice PnR with Paul leading to an alley-oop and-one from Jordan which gave TNT a chance to show that graphic.
- Memphis leads 55-52 three minutes into the third.
- Tough shot by Rudy Gay, top of the key, drives down left hand side of the lane, doubled, pull up jumper, defenders hanging all over him, hits the tough contested shot.
- Next possession, bad play by Rudy Gay, gets Paul on a switch, tries to take him off the dribble, gets stripped and loses possession but Memphis get lucky because Paul cannot control it and goes right to Randolph for the easy two.
- Rudy Gay, again, top of the key, PnR with Gasol, gets the switch on Jordan, drives right hard on Jordan and takes him to the rim, hits the short floater over him. Rudy Gay has looked very good tonight.
- Blake Griffin left midpost against Z-Bo, catches it, faces up, goes right away, drives baseline, blows by Randolph and gets the layup.
- Memphis lead 63-56 as we near the midway point and after Tony Allen bags a long range two point jumper along the right sideline.
- Tony Allen is on Chris Paul, CP3 makes a catch off the right elbow, 18 feet out, faces up, Allen has a hand in his face, Paul takes it anyway and makes it. Is he trying to let TA know that he can’t defend him? Conley back on Paul on next possession. Different play, same result. Paul, high PnR with Jordan, goes away from the screen, slices into the paint, ball fake to freeze the defender and hits the layup.
- Speights knocks down the long two pointer jumper left wing against the shot clock. Momentum shot.
- Blake Griffin answers right back, right post, drives left and finishes on the opposite side of the rim. Got around Speights too easily there. Didn’t give his teammate time to get into help position. Griffin has 15 points now.
- Nick Young with another three point basket, left corner, as his man TA gets caught cheating.
- Rudy Gay knocks down the pull up jumper off the dribble over Kenyon Martin at the foul line. He has 16 points and has made seven shots in a row (that he has taken tonight).
- Memphis lead 71-65 with three minutes to play in third.
- Rudy Gay drops a turnaround J in the paint. He is 8-9 FGAs.
- Final possession of the quarter, Paul again, OJ Mayo and the Grizzlies deny him a shot attempt to end the quarter again. Terrific defense by Mayo pushing him away from the paint and then the help defense by Gay to help Mayo deny Paul the shot attempt in the final moments.
- Memphis lead 75-69
- Pondexter is on Chris Paul now. He is 6-8, 220-230lbs with excellent lateral quickness. Versatile defender. Can defend 1 through 4.
- Memphis – Mayo, Gay, Pondexter, Speights, Gasol
- Clippers – Mo, Paul, Bledsoe, Kenyon, Reggie
- Three PGs for the Clippers out there now. Great opportunity to stick Rudy Gay in the post against whomever is guarding him. Pondexter can post up one of those PGs too. He was a solid post scorer in college if I remember correctly.
- Bledsoe just injured his left arm. Timeout Clippers. Bobby Simmons has four fouls so they’ll have to control his minutes. Probably Nick Young. Still a good player for Gay to post up. Kenyon Martin is the one who is actually defending Gay. That means Speights should have a small one on him. Go to Speights, he’s a very good shot-creator. More of a face up big but he can take advantage of a smaller guard.
- It’s Blake Griffin who has come in for Bledsoe. Good substitution.
- Griffin gets caught on a switch with OJ Mayo off the PnR high right wing, Mayo comes off, steadies himself, sizes up Griffin and knocks down a three pointer. Memphis lead 80-73.
- Griffin beating Randolph with his quickness again. Draws a foul (third on Z-Bo). Keep attacking him big fella.
- Transition, OJ Mayo, right wing, shot fake, one dribble pull up jumper going right, nails it!
- Blake Griffin with a terrific finish off the PnR from the left sideline. The help didn’t rotate over in time.
Tony Allenfouls a three point shooter again. In the corner both times. This time Chris Paul who drains the triple and gets the foul. Sorry, my mistake, not TA, it was Speights who made that foul. Makes the FT. Cuts the lead in half to four.
- 83-79 Grizzlies with 8 minutes left
- Mike Conley hits the floater from the right hand side of the paint off the dribble penetration + OJ Mayo nails a three pointer from the right sideline in transition on the next possession. He has 18 points on 6-12 FGAs + turnover LAC, breakaway opportunity, layup, fouled. Pondexter splits a pair (FTs). The lead is 89-79 now a minute later.
- Mo Williams answers with a triple of his own. The Clippers needed that. “Timely basket” is exactly right.
- Mo Williams just got hurt. I missed what happened. They are having so much bad luck with injuries right now. Billups, Butler, Mo Williams and Bledsoe all limited by injuries here. Foye checked in for Mo. Evans and Young also out there alongside Paul and Griffin (who just scored again). The Grizzlies have their starting lineup out there with one change, Mayo instead of Allen.
- 92-84 Grizzlies lead with 4:44 to play as Gay knocks down one of two FTs (19pts, 8-12 FGAs). Offensive rebound on the miss, Memphis reset their offense, throw it into Gay at the right elbow who makes the short pass to Z-Bo on the right block and clears out, Z-Bo drives hard left into Griffin to the middle of the paint and hits the lefty runner + draws the foul and makes the FT.
- DeAndre Jordan back in for Reggie Evans. Simmons is in too. Not sure whether that is Young or Foye, it’s Foye. So the starting lineup for LAC.
- Griffin makes a hesitant post move which comes to nothing, passes it out to Paul, takes the three, misses it. On the other end, 1-3 PnR, Conley and Gay, right wing, Conley goes to the baseline, gets caught in the air going to the rim, looking for the pass, gets it to Gasol but he fumbles it, no bother, Gay is there and cleans it up. Timeout LAC, down 13 points.
- Clippers come out with under four minutes to play. Bobby Simmons makes a tough take at the rim against Marc Gasol. 11 point game.
- Chris Paul aggressive defensively on Conley, forces Conley into a timeout to avoid losing possession.
- Clippers just turned the ball over for the 21st time. Three minutes to play, Grizzlies ball, Randolph misses a lefty runner going across the paint. Clippers comes back down and Simmons drains a three.
- Gay isolation against Simmons off right elbow, drives right, Simmons ties him up, jump ball. Two minutes ten seconds to play, Gay wins tip to Gasol, out to Mayo, misses a quick three.
- Clippers pull down the rebound, two minutes, Paul probing, working with Griffin, reverses it to Foye, misses a three. Clippers running out of time. Conley draws a foul in transition and gets to the line; makes two FTs. Ten point game.
- 1:43 – Clippers miss again, so too does Memphis, transition, Bobby Simmons gets a dunk
- 1:00 – eight point game, 99-91 Memphis – Clippers very aggressive pressuring the ball and defending the pick and roll. Force Conley into a dribble in 19 footer at the top of the key, somewhat contested, misses but a foul off the ball committed against Gasol (Paul holding him back). Gasol misses both but Randolph gets the offensive rebound and Griffin fouls Randolph on the loose ball. Randolph makes one of two. Three missed FTs there by Memphis.
- 46 seconds – 100-91 Memphis – Clippers get two FTs. FT shooting contest the rest of the way. Memphis have this. I’m calling it, Memphis win.
The series is tied 1-1. The Clippers should be happy with that heading back to Los Angeles.
The Grizzlies will need to win one on their homecourt.