NBA Roundtable

2012 Playoffs Game Four: LA Clippers vs Memphis

In Game Log / Recap on May 8, 2012 at 1:05 am

Game Time

I missed the weekend’s games but I heard the Clippers had a strong fourth quarter comeback (after a dominant Memphis third quarter) and win against the Grizzlies in Game Three spearheaded by the fantastic Chris Paul.

This is a big game for Memphis. They don’t want to go down 3-1 and they need to show a response after the Clippers displays of fortitude to win games one and three.

First Quarter

  • Caron Butler with a one dribble left and pull up jumper along the baseline from 17 feet to put the Clippers on the scoreboard. The score is 6-2 Memphis, 8-2 Memphis as Z-Bo gets the putback off of M.Gasol’s missed jump-shot. 10-2 after a Rudy Gay transition layup. Good start by Memphis and it draws an early timeout out of LA.
  • The Clippers go on a 6-2 run to cut the lead in half. They started off with a pair of FTs from Randy Foye, then a cut and dunk from the weakside off the PnR from Chris Paul and finally a transition basket (contested lay in) from Caron Butler again. Butler leading the way for LAC early on. Showing great desire and toughness. The Grizzlies basket came from Tony Allen jumper along the baseline on the right hand side of the floor. Two more FTs for Blake Griffin (transition play). We’re now at the midway point in the first quarter, 12-10 Memphis lead.
  • PnR between Paul and Griffin, Griffin catches it at the elbow, one step inside and elevates, nobody on the Grizzlies even contests the shot, Griffin is too athletic and got up in the air too quick for the help defense, layup. Next possession, Griffin catches it 12 feet from the basket in the middle of the paint, one power dribble inside, powers it up and in. The game is now tied 14-14.
  • Mike Conley and Chris Paul exchange three pointers. Conley’s came off a PnR. Paul’s came against the shot clock (and Tony Allen) after the fumble (well bad pass) on the drive and kick. Huh, okay, and they continue to exchange three pointers. This time Conley drives down the left hand side of the paint and throws it back out to Rudy Gay on the left wing who nails a three. LAC comes back down and Caron Butler knocks down a triple from the right wing.
  • Rudy Gay with an aggressive drive and acrobatic finish but he fails to get it to go down, fastbreak the other way, Paul runs the break and he has numbers, gets it to Griffin, slam dunk. Technical on Gay who wanted the foul and let the referee know it. Paul knocks down the FT. A 19-8 run from LAC over the last five minutes.
  • Rudy Gay bricks a 23 footer on the next possession from the top of the arc. That was a frustration shot.
  • OJ Mayo ties the game with a three pointer from the right wing. 23-23, 26-23 LAC after Foye returns with a triple from the right corner after the pass from Griffin. These teams keep swapping made three point baskets.
  • Mo Williams with a lovely baseline drive and dump to DeAndre Jordan for the one handed slam.
  • The first quarter started slowly but came alive around the 8 minute mark. The Clippers lead 32-26 after getting down early. A 30-14 run over those final 8 minutes from LA.

Second quarter

  • Clippers – Paul, Mo Will, N.Young, Kenyon and Reggie
  • First play, Chris Paul and Reggie Evans run a screen and roll about 30 feet from the hoop with Marc Gasol defending the PnR, Gasol can’t step out on Paul, Paul races right by him and gets to the rim for a layup. Easy hoop. Draws an immediate timeout out of of Lionel Hollins. Not happy with that possession.
  • Grizzlies make a sub and bring in Z-Bo for M.Gasol. A bit more quickness and mobility on the floor.
  • Pondexter is defending Chris Paul now. A lot more size and length on Paul. Leads to a shot-clock violation on the next possession with Pondexter visibly frustrating Paul and forcing him to pass off to Bledsoe (who came in for N.Young) to create against the shot clock instead of taking it himself.
  • Mo Williams with a nice 13 foot jumper off the dribble penetration on the high PnR. Conley returns the favour except he gets to the rim for the layup off the hesitation dribble at the right elbow on the dribble penetration off the PnR.
  • Nick Young back in for Chris Paul. Draws a foul on an isolation against Arenas out of the right corner (off a baseline inbounds).
  • Bledsoe’s explosiveness athletically is very impressive. Soared into the air to rip down that rebound. Then pushed it up the court, got the rim and then put himself on the FT line. Quickness to the ball and with the ball creating that opportunity. Then makes a terrific save diving into the crowd to retain the possession for the Clippers. Making the hustle plays for LAC.
  • Blake Griffin posts up left block, goes middle, Speights fights hard against middle and tries to push baseline, makes Griffin off balance but then he jumps into the air and spins 360 degrees to gives himself a chance to make the short 4 foot shot but misses. Not quite on balance but it was incredible how he gave himself the chance with that 360.
  • Next possession, Griffin, right box, faces up, looks for the cutters, fakes, drives right by him and explodes to the rim. Next possession, transition dunk for Griffin. He is taking over the game right now. Apperently, according to the commentators, all of Griffin’s points tonight (10) and in the series have come inside the paint.
  • The Clippers lead 43-36 with five minutes twenty seconds left in the first half.
  • Blake Griffin scores again. This time against Randolph and along the baseline from the right hand side. Showing off his ball-handling and body control on that spin move baseline.
  • Lovely pass by Gasol to Z-Bo for the layup off the PnR with Conley. Gasol rolled down to the FT line, caught the pass, took a step, drew the defender, dished to Zach, layup. Clever read by Gasol.
  • Tony Allen posts up Chris Paul (right block), one dribble middle, muscles it up and scores over the top easily. No way can Paul defend TA in the post.
  • Blake Griffin scores again, fakes that baseline spin, goes middle, steps through, Z-Bo tries to get back into the play but Griffin goes back the other way towards the baseline and makes the layup. 14 first half points. Very similar move on the next possession, this time a deep catch in the paint, fakes middle, spins baseline, fouled on the layup. Technical foul on the reaction. A little testiness from both teams after that foul.
  • LAC leads 50-40 with 3:13 to play
  • Speights air-balls a baseline jumper. The Grizzlies really needed a basket there. The momentum is going away from them. Luckily, the Clippers turn it over on the other end so Memphis will get another crack at it here. DeAndre Jordan doing a fantastic job of contesting Marc Gasol’s passing lanes in the high post. He’s done that very well in this series. Gasol finally gets it to Gay, post up, turns into a switch as Gasol moves down, Gay pulls out to the perimeter and then drives on Jordan, loses the ball, turnover. Memphis having to work very hard for good shot attempts over the last few minutes.
  • Nice pass by Mike Conley to find Speights hugging the baseline and gets the and-one layup. Memphis needed that. Cuts the lead to 6 points instead of LAC pushing it to double digits at the half.
  • Terrific block by Kenyon Martin up high to deny Marc Gasol on the short shot in the paint from the Conley find. The blocked forced a 24 second shot violation. That would have cut it to 4. Clippers inbounds to Paul who drives down the right hand side, four seconds on the clock, heaves it, misses.
  • Clippers lead 51-45

Third quarter

  • Interesting graphic on screen — Randolph, Gay and Gasol have combined to score only 3 points since the halfway mark in the first quarter. Need to step up in a big way in the second half.
  • Griffin matched up with Gasol, catches it on the right elbow, shot fake, drives right, elevates and finishes glass over Gasol. Looks very comfortable creating against Gasol.
  • Randolph with another putback. At least his second putback of the night, possibly his third. 8 points for the game.
  • Conley drains a 17 footer in transition. He is 5-6 FGAs for 14 points.
  • Gasol has just made two very good plays defensively. He missed DeAndre Jordan ducking into the edge of the paint from the weakside but recovered well to contest the attempted dunk shot which missed + on the next possession, blocked the dribble drive, ignited the break and Rudy Gay hit two FTs. Two point game, 53-51 LAC.
  • Chris Paul tries to reply to this mini-run from Memphis. Looks to create his own offense out of the pick and roll, right wing PnR, goes towards the baseline and takes the jumper, misses. Missed the shot but I think he senses this is an important period for the club and that he needs to find a way to settle down his team before Memphis builds up any more steam.
  • Next possession, CP3 and Griffin, PnR, finds Griffin in the paint, defense collapses, Paul cuts to the right corner, Griffin finds him, takes the jumper along the baseline, hits it this time. A few moments later, Paul top of the key, against the shot clock, dribble drive, runner, off glass, hits it.
  • Terrific inbounds to Blake Griffin in the open court as Zach Randolph complains to the official instead of getting back on defense. Griffin gallops down the right hand side of the court and drives straight to the rim, goes strong, fouled. I think that was Chris Paul that saw Griffin and made that early pass.
  • Marc Gasol just picked up his 4th foul. He needs to stay on the court but he must be careful. Ahh, he’s coming out, Haddadi comes in. Oh my, I don’t like this situation for Memphis.
  • Speights posts up Griffin, midpost, 13 feet out on the left wing, faces up, takes the jumper, gets the friendly roll.
  • Chris Paul with a nice wraparound pass to DeAndre Jordan in the paint for the and-one off of Paul’s dribble drive. The Clippers are now up 7 as Jordan misses the FT badly. Not even close.
  • Conley gets the layup as he takes advantage of Jordan off the dribble after Jordan got caught in the switch.
  • Rudy Gay doing a nice job posting up the smaller Caron Butler and drawing the foul. Makes his FTs. Gay looks so much bigger than Butler. Gay must be a solid 6-9 240lbs. Caron around 6-7 225lbs.
  • Tony Allen has 4 fouls too. As does Speights. A couple of Grizzlies in foul trouble (Marc Gasol too),
  • Next possession, Rudy Gay posts up again, below the left elbow, backs him down, turns middle, turnaround J, misses but Haddadi is there for the tap in. Good.
  • Clippers lead 65-62 with three minutes to go in the third as Dante Cunningham makes a driving shot off the pump fake. He’ll take a shot at Griffin on the other end of the court. Griffin tries to face up and attack him off the dribble rather than out-power him in the post. Bad decision. Quick double anyway. Danger averted.
  • Rudy Gay called for the charge on his dribble drive. Really taking it upon himself to keep Memphis in this game with Gasol and Randolph sitting. Becoming a bit too self-absorbed though. Too much about him. Needs to come within the flow of the offense. Give others a chance to contribute.
  • Haha, wonderful running hook by Kenyon Martin over Rudy Gay. Kenyon took him off the dribble from the left wing, driving hard into the paint and hitting the hook shot. A perimeter move from an interior guy. Rudy Gay really should have forced a long jumper there instead of conceding the drive. Bad initial defense. Good contest on the shot though.

Fourth quarter

  • Clippers leading 69-64
  • Dante Cunningham with a nice pump fake, right elbow, driving left and taking a running jumper going sideways, tough shot, hits it. Next possession, Memphis get a transition hoop (Gay) and cut the lead to one.
  • Another transition opportunity for Memphis, Gay gets to the FT line and makes one of two to tie the game. Offensive rebound Haddadi, fouled going back up. He splits a pair. Memphis lead by one.
  • Clippers really struggling to begin the third quarter. Three minutes without a point on the board. Missing a lot of shots. Timeout.
  • Blake Griffin left elbow, spacing not good, passes it out to Mo Williams in left corner, Griffin moves out to set a pick, Mo Williams fakes left towards the pick, goes right, takes the baseline jumper, hits it. Nice move by Mo Williams. Similar stuff on the next possession, Griffin left elbow, to Mo Williams left sideline, PnR, this time Mo Williams uses it and finds Griffin rolling to the rim, slam dunk and-one. Clippers back up 2.
  • 7:30 mark — turnover Memphis, Griffin leads the break, 2 on 1, gives it over to Bledsoe who is filling the left lane (Griffin right) who takes it hard to the rim and draws a foul. Sideline inbounds. Another foul, another sideline inbounds.
  • Griffin posts up left block Cunningham, doubled, passes out, repost, doubled again, kicks it again … this time to the opposite wing and finds Nick Young for the open three who nails it. Timeout Memphis.
  • Clippers lead 77-72 at the midway mark of the fourth … gosh darn it, Memphis turn it over again, Bledsoe accelerates into the open court and gets fouled on his foray to the rim. Makes two FTs. Seven point game.
  • Next possession down, Griffin posts up again on that left side of the lane, drives, doubled, kicks it out and Mo Williams knocks down another triple.
  • Memphis have 3 turnovers on their last five possessions. Missed two shots on the other two possessions.
  • Memphis find Gay curling around a screen, catches it and drives immediately into the lane and takes the running shot, hits it. 8 point game.
  • 4:30 to play – Griffin posts up left post, working on Randolph, draws the foul, makes two. Clippers lead 84-74. Ten point lead.
  • Conley almost turns it over again but manages to save it after slipping to the floor and almost falling out of bounds. Finds Gay on the left wing, drives hard left, down the lane for the dunk, foul, blocking charge. That is the 5th foul on Griffin. He will need to be careful down the stretch. Gay makes two. Eight point lead.  Tony Allen comes back in for OJ Mayo.
  • Grizzlies are 4-14 in the fourth from the field. LAC are 4-9.
  • Chris Paul isolation top of the key against Tony Allen. Allen does a good job denying the lanes, forces the long two point jumper off the dribble, good contest, miss.
  • 3:40 – Memphis baseline inbounds after Paul knocks it out, catch and shoot for Rudy Gay from 19 feet on the right sideline (Gasol screen to free him up), hits it. Six point game.
  • The Clippers fail to knock down long jumpers on the next possession. Mo Williams tries to keep it alive but knocks it out of bounds.
  • A 1-3 screen and roll between Conley and Gay, Conley looks for and takes the three off the second screen from Gasol, nails it. Halves the lead, 3 point game. Timeout LAC.
  • Clippers lead 84-81 as Conley misses a jumper
  • 2:10 – Clippers ball, Paul over to Foye to Griffin, left wing isolation, faces up on Z-Bo, drives left, baseline, takes it to the rim, powers up the shot but it rolls off the rim. Miss. Rebound Randolph, to TA, passes ahead to Gay who blows the transition layup and gives up the foul right after. Reggie Evans goes to the line and makes one out of two.
  • 1:30 – Conley with the dribble penetration, circles under the rim, comes out the other side and throws it back out to the opposite wing, Randolph knocks down the long jumper. Good.
  • 1:05 — 85-83 LAC — Tony Allen on two occasions does a terrific job to deny passing lanes on back-to-back inbounds passes to force the 24 second shot clock violation.
  • Memphis have an 18-0 second chance points advantage
  • 59 seconds – Memphis ball, Gay isolation right wing, drives hard right, stops, tries to pull up but Kenyon ties him up, jump ball. Terrific defense by Kenyon Martin. Jump ball, tapped far and long, Paul tries to chase it down and saves it but Griffin can’t get hold of it. Out again, Memphis ball again. Gay gets the switch (PnR), Griffin on him, iso, right wing, drives left, foul line pull up fallaway, hits it. Tie game.
  • 85-85 with 35.5 seconds to play — 3/4 inbounds, to Paul, isolation on TA, blows by him, drives down the right hand side of the lane and hits the running layup. Timeout Memphis. Should have gotten the foul, TA hit him on the play.
  • Dribble penetration, to Z-Bo under the rim, muscles it up in a crowd and draws a foul. Randolph makes two of two.
  • 20 seconds – Tie game at 87 — Tony Allen does a great job on ball-denial on Paul but Paul eventually gets the ball, Paul dribbles down the clock, TA all over him, Paul tries to create, picks up his dribble, crowded, deflected pass, buzzer. End of regulation.


  • Chris Paul starts the overtime period off with a turnover. Memphis give it right back as Gasol’s jump hook in the lane air-balls.
  • Chris Paul knocks down a 18 foot jumper on the left wing.
  • Conley right wing PnR, drives hard left, down the lane, scoop shot at the rim, rolls out, Gasol comes down the lane, corrals the rebound, fouled. Gasol makes both.
  • Chris Paul and Blake Griffin hook up again. Paul finds a cutting Griffin from the weakside, fouled, two FTs, Griffin gets the bounce on the first one and misses the second one.
  • LAC with 3:46 to play – Reggie Evans pulls down the offensive rebound on Griffin’s missed FT. Resets the offense. Paul scores again. A 16 foot jumper against M.Gasol off the PnR. Three point game.
  • Mo Williams picks OJ Mayo’s pocket, breakaway layup, Mayo goes for it, helps force a miss. Sideline inbounds,
  • Chris Paul trying to create against TA. Tony Allen doing a great job contesting the dribble and forcing a low percentage forced shot against the clock, misses, offensive rebound Griffin, fouled. Griffin makes the bucket and the FT.
  • 2:40 to go — Memphis down 6, 95-89, Conley drives down left sideline, Griffin helps, Conley attacks him and draws his sixth foul on the touch foul. A 30 point 7 assist 6 rebound night. Kenyon Martin comes in. Mike Conley banks in a shot to cut the lead to 4. A running hook going away from the basket from about 9 feet along the right side of the paint. Very tough shot.
  • 2 mins – Mayo defending Paul, PnR with Martin, Paul finds him, Martin takes it to the rim, Gay helps at the rim along with another Grizzly, misses the attempted layup out of bounds off of himself, turnover.
  • 1:50 – Gasol left elbow, hand off to Gay, deflected, Gay tracks it down, then goes to work and hits the jumper in the paint. Two point game.
  • Chris Paul with an impressive lean in bank shot. Four point lead.
  • 1:10 – Conley to Gasol on left wing PnR, out of bounds off of Memphis. Clippers ball. One minute. In to Paul, TA on Paul, TA and OJ are switching defense for offense respectively, Paul scores again, attacking Marc Gasol again in the PnR and taking the 15 foot jump shot along the right wing.
  • 44 seconds — 99-93 LAC — in to Gasol left wing, to Mayo left sideline, dribbles baseline, draws some defensive attention, back to Gasol who is cutting to the rim, dunk.
  • Clippers ball – Paul going to work, picks up his dribble, surrounded, he’s in trouble, bounce pass, picked off, turnover, fastbreak, two on one, Gay to Conley, layup.
  • 8 seconds – 99-97 Clippers, inbounds to Mo, fouled, no wait, timeout before the inbounds. Same deal, in to Mo, fouled, Mo takes two FTs and he makes them. Four point game.
  • 7 seconds – down four, need a quick three, Conley in to Gasol, deflected out by Paul.
  • 6 secs — Conley deep along the sideline, Gay will inbound it instead, in to to Gasol, hand off to Gay, three pointer, heavily contested about two feet beyond the arc, misses. Clippers win.

Excellent result for the LA Clippers. They played well for the most part. The Grizzlies did in stretches but not for long enough.

The Clippers now go back to Memphis with a 3-1 series lead. They are in a very strong position to win this series.

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