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NBA PLAYOFFS -- Clippers trip Grizzlies in Game 3 thriller


PhilBoxing.com




LOS ANGELES - For the second time in three games, the LA Clippers came back from the brink of defeat to beat the Memphis Grizzlies and take a 2-1 series lead Saturday afternoon at the Staples Center here in downtown Los Angeles.

Trailing 79-73 with 4:13 left to play, the Clippers were primed for a loss. Their shooting was flat, the offense was predictable, and they were missing free throws by the bundle.

But just like Game 1, which they stole after coming back from a 27-point hole and erased a 21-point fourth quarter deficit, the Clippers caught lightning and struck the Grizzlies with a 13-1 run to regain the lead 86-80 with 23 seconds to go.

It did get exciting from there, though, as the Clippers left the door ajar by missing four consecutive free throws while Rudy Gay drilled back-to-back 3s to put Memphis within striking distance, 86-87, time winding down to the final 8.9 seconds.

Sophomore Clippers guard Eric Bledsoe missed bungled two more free throws with 8.3 seconds left giving Memphis one more chance at redemption. But Gay's contested, double-pump prayer hoisted off-balance just above the arc bounced out of the rim.

"We missed 17 free throws? Clippers star Chris Paul said. "We did? It shows how much fight we have. It's unacceptable," he added.

Indeed, the Clippers missed 17 of 30 freebies and converted only 33 of 70 field goals for a decent 47. 1 percent clip. But the Clippers pumped their anemic offense with 24 points beyond the arc, sinking 8-of-7 triples.

The Grizzlies made a killing on the free throw line and sank 30 of 39 attempts courtesy of LA's 27 team fouls. But Memphis was abysmal from the field, missing 39 of 65 shots including just 4-of-13 from 3-land.

"We took too many quick shots and gave up second chance points. We gave them the back door and Blake (Griffin) took advantage of it," said a disappointed Memphis head coach Lionel Hollins, whose team could have easily been up 3-0 had it not been for their collective inability to finish.

Paul paced the Clips with 24 points and 11 assists while the high-flying Griffin added 17 points and four rebounds. Randy Foye contributed 16 points.

Memphis got 24 from Gay and Zach Radolph poured in 17. Big man Marc Gasol finished with 11 points and 10 rebounds. (Juleene Aderhold)


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Juleene Janell Aderhold.


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