Los Angeles-The Los Angeles Clippers rallied late in the fourth quarter to escape with a 87-86 win over the Memphis Grizzlies in front of a loud fan base at Staples Center in Game 3 of the two team’s first-round, NBA playoff matchup.
Once again Paul was forced to bail his team out. After being down by seven points heading into the fourth quarter Paul went on a rampage to give the Clippers a 2-1 advantage over their Western Conference opponents in this best-of-seven series.
Paul scored seven points in the fourth quarter, including firing up the go- ahead jumper to give the Clippers the lead for good.
The Clippers won their first playoff game at home in six seasons to take the lead 2-1 in the best-of-7 series over the Grizzlies in the Western Conference playoffs. Chris Paul lead the way scoring 24 points and 11 assists and Blake Griffin chipped in 17 points.
Despite the drama Saturday night the Clippers escaped another dangerous win. They turned the ball over 18 times and made 13 of 30 from the free-throw line. The Grizzlies took better advantage in their trips to the charity line, connecting on 30 of 39 free throw attempts.
In more ways than one, the Clippers are fortunate to have Paul on their roster. Paul’s presence has changed the attitude make up of the Clippers this season. Instead of embracing a tanking mentality, Paul has had the Clippers in attack mode all year.
“Chris is a competitor,” Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro said. “He’s done it all year and his whole career. When the game is on the line, he is as good as there is.”
“He’s tenacious,” Memphis Grizzlies Forward Rudy Gay said of Paul. “He doesn’t give up. He makes plays and finds people. We can’t have other people doing what they did today.”
The Clippers are a very impressive team to watch, but they can become lackadaisical during the first 36 minutes of the game. They have gotten too comfortable trying to rally back late in games.
“We need to work on that,” Foye said. “We have to continue to fight.”
Both teams pretty much knew that going into this series it wouldn’t be painless for neither team. Memphis and Los Angeles are both two teams who will punch until the time clock expires. The Clippers have been very fortunate to be the survivors.
The Clippers fans brought a lot of energy and intensity to the Staples Center Saturday night, screaming at the top of their lungs during most of the game.
“Seeing all that red, seeing all the fans on their feet celebrating, we had no choice but to go out there and play hard,” Paul said.
But you have to give the Clippers Forward Reggie Evans a round of applause. He’s not Paul or Griffin but without him, I don’t think there would be any chances of a comeback. It’s something about his energy that sparks that team.
The performance Evans brings to the Clippers doesn’t make the stats sheets – but his physicality out there is almost unreal. Anytime you hear over 18,000 fans chanting R-E-G-G-I-E, you know his work ethic is appreciated and respected.
“Reggie is all about energy and effort,” Del Negro said. “That’s why he’s out there.”
The Grizzlies could easily be leading the series 3-0, if they knew how to finish a game. But that’s what makes the Clippers look like the better team in the series; they have managed to close out games.
If you want to beat the Clippers you have to play twelve minutes of pure defense in the fourth quarter.