LA Clippers stun Grizzlies with memorable comeback

LA Clippers stun Grizzlies with memorable comeback

MEMPHIS, Tennessee - Agence France-Presse
LA Clippers stun Grizzlies with memorable comeback

Chris Paul (R) had 14 points for the Los Angeles Clippers against the Grizzlies. AFP photo

The Los Angeles Clippers stormed back from a 27-point second-half deficit April 29 to beat the Memphis Grizzlies 99-98 in the first game of their NBA Western Conference first-round series.

Chris Paul’s two free throws with 23.7 seconds left gave the Clippers the one-point lead, and Rudy Gay missed a jump shot as time expired that would have salvaged the victory for the Grizzlies on their home court.

The Clippers’ remarkable rally, after they trailed by 24 points with nine minutes remaining, followed emphatic victories for the top-seeded San Antonio Spurs and perennial contenders the Los Angeles Lakers in their first-round openers.

“I can’t tell you how proud I am of the guys,” said Clippers coach Vinny del Negro. “The guys just gutted it out.” Nick Young scored 19 points off the bench, including three three-pointers that were part of the Clippers’ storming finish.

Paul finished with 14 points, Blake Griffin added 17 and Caron Butler scored 12 before suffering a broken left hand in the second half.

With the Clippers on the road, the Lakers held court in Los Angeles, where All-Star center Andrew Bynum delivered a dazzling defensive display in their 103-88 victory over the Denver Nuggets. He matched the NBA playoff record for blocked shots in a game with 10, part of a “triple-double” that included 13 rebounds and 10 points.

Bynum had the Lakers’ first post-season “triple-double” since Magic Johnson managed the feat in the 1991 NBA Finals.

In San Antonio, Tony Parker scored 28 points and Tim Duncan added 17 to lead the Spurs over the Utah Jazz 106-91.

Duncan grabbed 11 rebounds while Parker contributed eight assists and Stephen Jackson added 14 points for San Antonio, which had not won a playoff series opener in six tries over the past four years.