One of the most competitive series in the first round of the NBA playoffs resumes at Staples Center on Monday when the Los Angeles Clippers look to take a commanding 3-1 series lead over the Memphis Grizzlies in the Western Conference quarterfinals.
Chris Paul dropped 24 points and dished out 11 assists on Saturday when the Clippers edged the Grizzlies, 87-86, in the pivotal Game 3.
Blake Griffin had 17 points and Randy Foye hit 4-of-5 three-point attempts, including the game-tying trey in the final minutes, finishing with 16 points for Los Angeles.
Rudy Gay finished with 24 points, Zach Randolph chipped in 17 and Marc Gasol had 11 points along with 10 rebounds for the Grizzlies.
Foye hit his triple on the left wing to tie it at 80 apiece, and then Paul knocked down a fadeaway jumper, stole it from Gasol, and fed Griffin on a bounce pass underneath the basket for a two-handed flush. He hit a pair at the line to give the Clippers an 86-80 lead with 23 ticks on the clock.
But the Grizzlies, however did not go away, taking advantage of missed opportunities down the stretch to threaten.
First Gay trimmed the deficit in half with a three, and Eric Bledsoe was quickly fouled. He made the first and, although he missed the second, Reggie Evans grabbed the board for the hosts. But Evans missed both tries from the stripe, and Gay sunk another from beyond the arc to make it a one-point game.
Bledsoe was fouled again with 8.3 seconds on the clock, and this time he missed both attempts. Gilbert Arenas came down with the rebounds, giving Memphis possession for the final shot.
Gay’s try was contested and he did not produce the game- winner.
The Clippers were a dismal 17-of-30 from the free throw line as compared to a solid 30-of-39 effort from the Grizzlies.
Game 5 of the best-of-seven series is set for Wednesday back in Memphis.
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Written by Marina