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Chris Paul says he couldn't predict Clippers' improbable rally

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He says he doesn't have any answers as to how he and his teammates pulled off 27-point comeback, but he draws inspiration from it. He expects to play in Game 2 on Wednesday despite mild groin injury.

May 01, 2012|By Broderick Turner

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Two days later and Chris Paul still couldn't explain how the Clippers came from 27 points down in Game 1 on Sunday to defeat the Memphis Grizzlies in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs.

"I don't know. I don't have any answers for what happened in that game — in all seriousness," Paul said Tuesday at practice. "It was just fighting and never giving up. We just played as hard as we could. I can't say I knew that was going to happen. It was just one of those crazy situations."

Paul and his teammates, readying for Wednesday's Game 2, still seem to be in disbelief this team made history to take a 1-0 lead in the best-of-seven series and wrest home-court advantage away from Memphis.

"When you've played as many games as we have and I know as I have, I've seen crazy things happen — maybe not as crazy as that," Paul said, smiling.

The only bad news from the game Sunday was that small forward Caron Butler fractured his left hand and will be sidelined four to six weeks.

Nick Young probably will start in Butler's place, but Bobby Simmons also is an option.

The only sure thing is Clippers Coach Vinny Del Negro said he will have a committee of small forwards — Young, Butler, Randy Foye and Kenyon Martin — to use at different times during the game.

"We've got to figure out how to fill a big void there without Caron," Del Negro said.

Memphis also got some bad news when starting shooting guard Tony Allen missed practice Tuesday with a sore left knee. The team listed him as probable for Wednesday night's game.

As for Paul, the two days off in between games allowed his mild left groin injury to improve.

"I'm feeling good, good enough to go tomorrow night," Paul said Tuesday. "As long as I'm good enough to play, I'm good enough to be out there."

There was an eight-minute stretch in the fourth quarter Sunday in which the Clippers outscored the Grizzlies, 28-3.

So many things went right for the Clippers.

"If we play that way for 48 minutes — just like every team in the league [wishes it] could do that for 48 minutes — it's hard to beat you," Paul said. "I don't know if it was like the perfect storm — not necessarily a storm for us because it actually helped us. If they score one basket during that stretch, it may be over. You just never know."

Three of the Clippers' starters, Foye, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan, are in the playoffs for the first time.

Paul was asked what it was that made him and his teammates pull off such an improbable rally.

"I think it's sort of like a collaboration of all of our personalities," Paul said. "We have a lot of different personalities on our team and the one common bond between all of us is that all of us have a story.

"Everybody has had to work their way up from somewhere or been through some adversity. So when we get down, we've just got to figure it's not the first time we've been here."

broderick.turner@latimes.com

twitter.com/BA_Turner

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