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Big men power Grizzlies past Clippers
Posted By HOOPSWORLD On May 1, 2013 @ 1:56 am In Wirenews | Comments Disabled
by David Leon Moore, USA TODAY Sports
LOS ANGELES — Last year, the Memphis Grizzlies exited the playoffs painfully, on their home court, losing Game 7 in a first-round series to the Los Angeles Clippers.
Payback was rich for the Grizzlies — a 103-93 Game 5 road triumph over the Clippers Tuesday night in L.A.’s Staples Center, giving the Grizzlies a 3-2 series lead and the chance to advance to the second round with a victory in Memphis Friday night.
It was the first time in the physical, evenly matched series that the home team lost.
For the Grizzlies, the win came with predictably strong efforts from their big guys, forward Zach Randolph (25 points, 11 rebounds) center Marc Gasol (21 points, eight rebounds), plus a big night for point guard Mike Conley (20 points, six assists) and clutch fourth-quarter shooting from Tayshaun Prince (15 points).
For the Clippers, the loss came despite a valiant effort from point guard Chris Paul, who led all scorers with 35 points.
Paul’s problem — and the Clippers’ — was that he was kind of the only one on his team to show up.
In fact, through three quarters, when he had put up 31 points, he was the only Clipper in double figures and the only starter with more than five points.
Clippers forward Blake Griffin played with an ankle sprain suffered in practice and was clearly limited, starting but totaling just four points and five rebounds in 19 minutes
The two teams battled on nearly even terms in the first half, but the Grizzlies went on an 11-0 run early in the third quarter to take a 65-52 lead.
Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro didn’t mince words before the game about how critical the Tuesday night outcome would be.
He said the team that won would “probably” win the series and called it “pivotal.”
Not much had separated these two teams, going back to last season, when they went seven games in the first round. This year, they posted identical 56-26 regular season records, then split the first two games of a series that has all the looks of another seven-game survival test.
The Clippers knew if … [For more on Marc Gasol, Zach Randolph power Grizzlies past Clippers, click here.]
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