Another night, another rescue mission for Chris Paul.
LA’s all-world point guard scored eight of his 27 points in overtime, almost single-handedly leading the Clippers to a dramatic 101-97 victory over the relentless Memphis Grizzlies Monday night at Staples Center. The Clippers now lead the best-of-seven first round series 3-1.
Los Angeles seemingly had the game well in control at several points throughout the fourth quarter and overtime, only to see Memphis fight back to make things interesting again. In the end, though, Paul was too much for the Grizzlies to handle.
In all, CP3 finished with 27 points, nine rebounds, seven assists and just two turnovers in 42 minutes of action.
Outside of a pair of free throws that all-but iced the game with seven seconds to go, Paul and Blake Griffin scored all of LA’s points in the extra frame.
Mike Conley led the way for Memphis with 25 points on 10-15 shooting, but got very little help from the rest of his teammates. Rudy Gay chipped-in with 23, but shot a miserable 8-25 from the floor, including 1-6 from three-point range.
Once again, Reggie Evans was a major thorn in the side of the Grizzlies.
The veteran forward came off the bench to grab eight rebounds, including four on the offensive end, along with a pair of steals. He also completely shut down Memphis’ primary offensive low-post threat, Zach Randolph, who finished with a quiet 12 points.
The Grizzlies also curiously continued the trend of not feeding Marc Gasol in the post. He wound up scoring eight points on 1-4 shooting from the field, but led the Grizz with 10 free throw attempts, making six.
Griffin scored 30 points to lead the Clippers to go along with seven assists and five rebounds. He fouled out midway through overtime.
He was much more effective and assertive against the Grizzlies’ bigs in this game, after struggling following a hot start in game three.
Caron Butler, after shockingly returning to the lineup with a broken hand in game three, provided an early spark for LA, scoring the first eight points of the game. He finished with 14, while also helping make Rudy Gay’s life miserable on the other end of the floor.
The four games in the series have now been decided by a total of 15 points, and the Grizzlies have actually outscored the Clippers 386-385.
If L.A. is able to close the series out, it will be just the second time since the team moved to California in 1984 that the Clippers will have won a playoff series. The team won their first-round series in 2006 before falling to the Phoenix Suns in seven games in round two.
Another key to the Clippers’ success was a slight improvement in free throw shooting.
After going 13-30 in game three, the Clips made 28 of their 40 attempts Monday night, with Griffin, a 52 percent free throw shooter during the regular season, making 10 of his 17 tries.
The series now shifts back to Memphis for game five.
Tip-0ff is scheduled for 6:30pm PT Wednesday.
About the Author
Written by Taylor Smith
Taylor Smith is a writer for the Los Angeles Clippers.