Elimination game. Do or die for the Memphis Grizzlies tonight.
- Marc Gasol knocks down a catch and shoot from the left elbow as DeAndre Jordan is reluctant to close out. Z-Bo was posting up on the left block with Griffin fronting him. Jordan was more concerned with the high-low pass and conceding a layup to Randolph than giving up the open midrange jumper. Next possession, Gasol left elbow to Randolph left block again, muscles it up and over Griffin, off glass, good.
- Randy Foye and Caron Butler have made a pair of three pointers to give LAC a 6-4 lead.
- Caron Butler left wing, drives baseline, pump fakes, Gay bites, Butler draws the contact and the foul. Smart play by Butler. He has played very well since returning (unexpectedly) from his game one injury. Has given the Clippers a major lift.
- Clippers will take that. A contested jumper from Tony Allen from 22 feet. Exactly the shot they want Memphis to take. This time, TA makes it.
- Haha, a slow-mo fastbreak layup from Marc Gasol. Gosh.
- Chris Paul puts the Clips up 12-8 on the breakaway layup as he leaks out on the turnover. Mike Conley answers right back with a driving layup in the halfcourt offense. Quick response. Maybe Conley is trying to make a statement there.
- Marc Gasol faces up on Blake Griffin from the left elbow, shoots the face up jumper over him, hits it. Griffin has to get out closer on Gasol. It’s not like M.Gasol is going to take him off the dribble. Take away the shot.
- Randolph with the nice weakside rebound and lay in. One point game, 15-14 Clippers. A fast pace to this one early, lots of baskets.
- Caron Butler with the baseline drive and dish to a cutting Griffin for the layup. Nice pass.
- Marc Gasol on Griffin, Griffin not going out on him, Gasol dribbles hard right and then takes a running right hook. Makes it. On the other end, Chris Paul has his long jumper blocked, Gasol gets the loose ball, outlet pass (nice pass), TA streaking to the rim, layup and the foul. Memphis up one with a FT on the way. Timeout LAC.
- Gasol working on Jordan this time, left post, dribbles middle, spins back, fallaway, Jordan contests it, brick. Gasol has not looked comfortable taking those fallaway jumpers over the athletic seven footer DeAndre Jordan.
- Zach Randolph with a nice dribble middle spin baseline and muscles up the finish plus the draws the foul move on Griffin out of the right block. Memphis are on a 8-0 run. Randolph rips down the defense board (missed corner J), Memphis run out, LAC get back, early post up for Gasol, right post, spins baseline, layup. Next possession, Randolph faces up 14 feet out on right midpost, takes the jumper, knocks it down. Timeout Clippers. A 12-0 run to Memphis up 26-17.
- Mo Williams knocks down a tough contested three from the right sideline against the shot clock to end the Clippers drought. They get a stop on the other end, fastbreak, Mo Williams driving, Gasol does a good job contesting it, Mo Williams throws up a bricked runner, fastbreak the other way for Memphis resulting in an easy Marc Gasol finish inside.
- Memphis posts up Gasol on the left block, he faces up, spots Randolph cutting to the middle of the paint with his man sealed, makes the pass, immediately fouled. Nice pass.
- Randolph and Gasol are a combined 10-12 FGAs
- Marc Gasol blocks a runner (N.Young I think it was) to ignite the break, drive and kick for the three pointer, miss, offensive rebound, Randolph finishes inside. Memphis lead 31-20. Marc Gasol heads to the bench for a rest and gets an ovation from the crowd.
- Reggie Evans making his impact known with a good offensive rebound (got inside position, boxed out his man), pump faked 2-3 times and then finished on the opposite side of the rim.
- Randolph, right post, drives right, lefty runner, gets contact, makes the three point play. Grizzlies up 34-22.
- Randolph has 15 first quarter points.
- Nick Young misses a fastbreak layup. He has struggled so far.
- Mo Williams knocks down a long three from the top of the key with a hand in his face. Second big three pointer from Mo.
- Rudy Gay responds with a tough move in the post for the finish inside. Memphis lead 40-25.
- Nick Young turns it over again and gives up a foul in transition. Struggling. I think VDN should pull him before he does more damage. Doesn’t look glued in mentally (focus wise).
- Rudy Gay with another nice post up on Young. This time takes a right jump hook from 7 feet, middle of the paint, misses. Next possession, Gay takes a pull up jumper out of the PnR from 19 feet top of the key, misses, offensive rebound and putback Pondexter. Pondexter made a corner jumper earlier in the quarter too. Giving Memphis some good minutes here. Gay is only 1-5 FGAs.
- Gay, right wing, passes it to Gasol below on the right elbow, cuts baseline, then posts up, Gasol gets it to him, Gay quick turnaround on the catch, nails it.
- Memphis lead 46-30 as we near the midway point in the quarter. Mo Williams just knocked down another jumper. And Griffin just got a fastbreak dunk for cut it to 14.
- Lovely pass from Gasol to the cutting Pondexter for the layup to beat the zone defense.
- Griffin left wing, hand off to Mo, drives, misses, Griffin with the authoritative putback slam. Next possession, Bledsoe hits a 23 footer from the left wing. 12 point game. Timeout Memphis. Clippers starting to build up a bit of steam.
- Tony Allen knifing into the paint for the runner in the lane, misses. Aggressive drive.
- Oh, terrific defense by Conley in the right corner to contest the dribble and then use the sideline and baseline to trap Mo Williams in the corner, shot clock, Mo has to take it, throws it up, so far behind the backboard that he can’t even get it on the right side of the board. Turnover.
- Memphis lead 51-38 with under three minutes to play in first half.
- Randolph and Gasol at it again as Randolph finds Gasol for the short shot in the paint. They are dominating this game.
- Good defense by Griffin to force Gasol wide as he tried to take Griffin off the dribble, forced an off balance runner going out of bounds from about 12 feet, misses. Meanwhile, the Clippers are in free throw shooting mode on the other end of the court, making 4 out of 5.
- Gasol left post, drives on Jordan, pivoting back and forth looking for the shot, stripped by Paul, Gasol fights for it back, gets it, shot clock, has to take a 18 footer from the top of the key, nails. Yells at the referee for the foul call earlier.
- Memphis finishes the half up 57-42 as Speights make two FTs.
- Marc Gasol has 18 points on 8-11 FGAs. He also has 4 assists and 3 rebounds. Zach Randolph has 15 points and 5 rebounds on 6-7 FGAs. They have dominated this first half.
- Led by their two big men, the Clippers have made a scorching 57.5% of their field goal attempts and 11-12 FTs. They are also a +3 on the backboards.
- Memphis has also gotten 21 points out of Conley, Gay, Pondexter and TA. Good scoring contributions from their supporting cast. Good support for their leading big men.
- Blake Griffin (10 and 5) and Caron Butler (8pts) have been the best players for the Clippers.
- Chris Paul has started slowly and hasn’t had his usual high level impact on the game. Mo Williams has played well in spurts and badly at other times. Inconsistent. DeAndre Jordan has had very little impact on the game. Getting beaten in the paint too regularly by the Grizzlies big men. So those three guys really need to turn it around in the second half.
- Memphis lead 59-42 after two Z-Bo FTs
- Chris Paul, left wing PnR with Griffin, Grizzles show hard on the pick, force Paul to go back towards the sideline, he runs hard around, circles down from the top of the key, gets the step and gets into the paint and hits the runner inside. Chris Paul starting aggressively in the third.
- Marc Gasol just pulled the carpet from underneath Griffin in the post, Griffin fell over, turnover. A few possessions later, Gasol doing a terrific job showing on PnRs here. Just forced a turnover from Foye and pushing him to the sideline out of the high PnR.
- Turnover Memphis, a one-two pass from Griffin to Paul back to Griffin for the gentle slam in transition. 15 point game. Next Clippers possession, turnover, Conley holds it up and gives it back to Gay, fouled layup attempt. Teams swapping turnovers and fastbreak opportunities there. Trying to get Gay an easy hoop. Easy FTs instead which he makes.
- Memphis leads 65-46 four minutes into the third
Memphis just need to hold onto their lead here. Avoid an epic collapse like what happened in Game One.
After that loss, and a couple other comebacks late in games from LAC in this series, I get the feeling that Memphis would get nervous very quickly if LAC can make a run here and get it into single digits. So holding onto this lead will be very important for Memphis’ confidence heading into the fourth quarter.
- A Blake Griffin dunk and three Randy Foye free throws have cut the lead to 14. If the Clippers can get this to 10, that would really ramp up the pressure on Memphis. They’ve built a small bit of momentum for themselves here but only a small bit. Needs a stronger push.
- Marc Gasol answers by getting to the line and hitting two FTs. Memphis get a stop on the other end, then run their offense patiently ending up in a high PnR between Gay and Gasol who passes to Gasol rolling to the foul line who finds Z-Bo hugging the baseline after his earlier jostling for post position, fouled on the layup attempt. Randolph splits a pair. Lead back up to 17. A few moments later, a four-on-one transition play is almost snuffed out by Chris Paul who strips Rudy Gay on the way up but Gay gets it back and puts it home. 19 point game. Timeout LAC. Five minutes to play in third.
- Memphis leads 72-51 after an 18 foot J from OJ Mayo. Paul gets T’d up and Mayo knocks it down. 22 point game. Another tech, this time Mayo misses.
- The third quarter is almost over and the Clippers are stuck on 51 points. They have neutered Chris Paul and the Clippers offense. The Grizzlies are defending the pick and roll so much better today than in game four when they gave up numerous high percentage shot attempts out of the PnR late in that game.
- Another tech against the Clippers. Third in a minute. OJ Mayo makes this one, made 2-3. Marc Gasol adds one of two FTs to push the lead to 24 with three minutes remaining in the third.
Not optimistic about the Clippers getting back into this. Then again, I wasn’t in game one either. I am going to halt the game thread here but will continue to watch and will revive it if the Clippers make things interesting.
- Oh boy, Blake Griffin just hurt his knee and he isn’t getting up. His teammates look very worried. Surrounding him while the trainer looks him over. Not good. The Clippers have cut the lead to 17 with 90 seconds left in the third quarter. Looked like Blake’s knee buckled after landing on that driving layup against Gasol. It’s been almost two minutes now. Okay, he’s getting back up, walking gingerly but walking. Good sign. Hopefully, it’s just a scare and not something serious. He goes to the bench and not to the locker room. Sits down and the trainers look at him some more. Take the sleeve, knee protector thing, off and examine his knee some more. Griffin has FTs coming up so he has to take them if he wants to return later on. Griffin and the Clippers still deciding what to do here. Griffin comes out to shoot the FTs. Hmm, Griffin has 14/10 tonight, his first double-double in the playoffs. Surprised he hasn’t had a double double before now. Griffin makes the first, misses the second and stays in the game.
- Memphis should attack him immediately (defending D.Cunningham) but they don’t go anywhere near Griffin. He is jogging back up-court now, looks okay, turnover Clippers on the cross-court pass, fastbreak, picked off, Clippers go the other way, Griffin running now. Looks fine. No need to be worried. Chris Paul bags a three pointer to cut the lead to 14.
- A 16-2 run here for the Clippers as Chris Paul gets the steal and the fastbreak layup (goaltending on Mayo’s attempted chase down block).
- Awful finish to the third quarter from Memphis. They just threw away a large chunk of their lead.
- Memphis lead 77-65 after collapsing and losing a large portion of their lead in the final 3-4 minutes of the third quarter. The Clippers looking very aggressive and confident here led by the spry Chris Paul. Paul has a hop in his step and is looking to attack at every opportunity. Memphis are in trouble. Need to steady their ship.
- Not much movement on the scoreboad in the first three minutes of the fourth but there were a few nice plays (1) Speights 22 foot jumper top of the key (2) Kenyon Martin’s shot-block on Speights dribble drive along the right side of the paint, swatted it out of bounds (3) a running jumper from Mo Williams from 15 feet right wing. Reggie Evans then added two FTs a few moments later to cut the lead to 10 points.
- Blake Griffin is ready to check back into this game. Big finish on the cards.
- Chris Paul nails an 18 footer left wing out of the PnR. 8 point game.
- Rudy Gay posts up Young, midpost right wing, backs him down and backs him down, too many dribbles, no help, turns middle, turns and shoots over the top, easy shot. The Clippers have to help Nick Young in that situation. You give a player of Rudy Gay’s size and quality that much time in the post against a player like N.Young and bad things will happen on the regular. Gotta help.
- Mo Williams with a similar shot to Paul just prior. A left wing 18 footer out of the PnR, nailts it.
- Rudy Gay misses two shots on that trip up the floor. The first was an iso on the right wing and contested midrange jumper. The Grizzlies got an offensive rebound and another possession, some ball movement led to a Gay jumper from the top of the key which he air-balled.
- Mo Williams goes one-on-one with Mike Conley from 30 feet after the Clippers offense stagnates, drives hard left, pull up jumper from 16-17 feet, hits it. 6 point game with 6 minutes left to play.
- Mike Conley high PnR with Marc Gasol, goes away from the screen, drives hard left down the left hand side of the paint, to the rim, layup.
- Mo Williams finally misses. An 18 footer off the hand off from Griffin on the left sideline. The Clippers get the ball back but then fall victim to a 24 second shot clock violation and give it right back to the Grizzlies. Timeout.
- Memphis’ fans sound nervous. Very quiet. When they do cheer, they don’t last for long. Team looks apprehensive too. Going away from their strength inside and Rudy Gay is making some questionable decisions offensively.
- 5 min – Rudy Gay gets Griffin in the mismatch on the PnR, pulls it out, right wing, drives hard left down the paint and finishes inside. Aggressive move.
- Mo Williams with a terrible shot. A contested three pointer off the dribble, misses. Bad possession for LAC. Went to Griffin in the post but he failed to make an aggressive move, put Mo in a bad position and then he proceeded to make things worse by rushing the shot.
- Memphis lead 85-75 with 3:50 left to play — baseline inbounds by Paul to Mo Williams curling around the screen, jump shot on the way, good!
- 3:30 – Gasol gets a good look from 14 feet right side of the paint but he looks off balance as he takes the jumper and misses. Never fully squared up to the rim. Felt rushed.
- 3 min – Pondexter on Paul, Paul gets it late in the shot clock, has to take it, hoists one up, nope. Good defense. Pondexter’s size bothers Paul.
- 2:30 – Paul comes back upcourt, dancing with the ball and probing the defense, over to Caron Butler, 19 footer top of the key, misses, rebound Pondexter. He has had a good game today.
- 2 mins – Randolph right post, drives, under the hoop, gets caught, misses the layup and doesn’t get the foul he wants.
- 1:45 – Paul reluctant to attack Pondexter, gives it to Mo Williams instead who gets some dribble penetration into the paint for the runner out of the PnP but misses the floater. Timeout Memphis.
- 1:25 – Memphis up eight, 85-77. The Grizzlies have been doing just about enough to hold the Clippers off while the Clips seem to have run out of steam over the last few minutes. A few iffy plays (shot selection) and this could be a 1-2 possession game instead of an 8 point game. Memphis not home yet though.
- Clippers get the stop as Conley misses his drive and runner but LAC miss from the outside on the other end, offensive rebound, ball swung to Foye in corner, drives baseline, layup. Six point game.
- 55 seconds – A loose ball foul on Mo Williams who was going for the steal will send Randolph to the line. Chris Paul is on the bench. I missed what happened to him. Appearently, he has strained groin. Randolph makes one and misses the second, offensive rebound, Grizzlies run down the clock and then Gay finishes them off with a driving one handed bucket off glass. 9 point lead with 19 seconds left. Game.
Good result for the Grizzlies. A very impressive performance for the first 32 minutes of the game but they looked well-shaky down the stretch. Not a convincing series from them in terms of their Championship aspirations.