Paul powers Clippers past Memphis
MEMPHIS - Agence France-Presse
Chris Paul had 19 points and nine rebounds during the Clippers’ big win. AFP photoChris Paul finished with 19 points, nine rebounds and four assists as the Los Angeles Clippers eliminated the Memphis Grizzlies 82-72 in game seven of their Western Conference playoff on May 13.
It was the first game seven win in the club’s 42-year history. The Clippers also recorded just their third ever playoff series win.
The Clippers advance to face the top-seeded San Antonio Spurs in the second round, beginning on Tuesday in Texas.
“I want the guys to enjoy this, and then we’ll regroup tomorrow and focus in on that,” Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro said. “But obviously another big challenge for us.” Los Angeles got a brilliant performance from their bench players down the stretch. The reserves scored 25 of their 27 fourth-quarter points as Kenyon Martin, Mo Williams and Nick Young combined for 33 points and 12 rebounds.
Rudy Gay and Marc Gasol scored 19 points apiece for the Grizzlies who missed all 13 of their three-point shots. Mike Conley shot a disappointing two-of-13 from the field and the team managed to shoot a combined 32.5 percent (25-of-77).
“Unfortunately, no one on the bench stepped up and helped us,” Memphis coach Lionel Hollins said.
The heavy use of the reserve players late in the game came at the expense of Clippers’ rising star Blake Griffin who sat for the final minutes. Griffin, who injured his knee earlier in the series, finished with 28 minutes of playing time and was three-of-11 from the field. He had just four rebounds.
Los Angeles led by one point at the half, 39-38, after going on an 11-2 spurt halfway through the second quarter.
Memphis had a big run of their own in the first half by closing out the second quarter with a 15-6 offensive attack.
The Grizzlies had a chance to cut the deficit in the final two minutes when OJ Mayo stole the ball from Paul and raced down the court. But his layup missed and the Clippers regained possession of the ball.
The Clippers sank all six of their free throws in the final minute to seal the win.