Paul great, but Grizzlies eliminate Clippers
by Adi Joseph, USA TODAY Sports
Chris Paul was spectacular. But basketball is a team sport, and the Memphis Grizzlies are a team, and Chris Paul is not.
And with that, the Grizzlies eliminated Paul and the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday night in Game 6 of their first-round playoff series. Memphis is headed to the second round. Paul is headed home with his future to consider as he hits free agency this offseason.
Zach Randolph had 23 points and Mike Conley added 23 and seven assists for the Grizzlies in a 118-105 victory. Memphis now faces the Oklahoma City Thunder in the next round, which starts Sunday.
Paul finished with 28 points on 11-for-16 shooting, eight assists, four rebounds and no turnovers before being ejected for his second technical foul with 2 minutes, 29 seconds to play. The Clippers let the Grizzlies set the tone early with their devastating inside duo of Randolph and Marc Gasol, and they never gained control in losing a fourth consecutive game.
The game was a slug-fest, featuring a wrestling scrum between All-Star forwards Randolph and Blake Griffin as well as six technical fouls. Randolph was ejected with 1 minute, 57 seconds left, but he threw his headband into the crowd in celebration as the game and series were locked up.
Six Grizzlies scored in double figures and the team totaled ____ assists. Memphis now seems to be one of two prohibitive favorites in the Western Conference, alongside the San Antonio Spurs, because of the Denver Nuggets’ loss to the Golden State Warriors and the injury of Thunder star Russell Westbrook.
Matt Barnes had 30 points and 10 rebounds as Paul’s only real help for the Clippers.