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Game updates: Clippers vs. Grizzlies, Game 2

May 02, 2012|By Baxter Holmes
  • Clippers center DeAndre Jordan, left, tries to block a short by Memphis guard Tony Allen during Game 2 of the Western Conference quarterfinals on Wednesday.
Clippers center DeAndre Jordan, left, tries to block a short by Memphis… (Andy Lyons / Getty Images )

Grizzlies 75, Clippers 69 (end of third quarter)

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Chris Paul is keeping the Clippers in the game, pretty much all by himself. He has 23 points and has made nine of 13 shots, including all three of his shots from beyond the arc.

If the Clippers win, Paul will deserve about 99.5% of the credit, and that's a conservative estimate.  

The Grizzlies started playing their patented "grit-and-grind style" of defense, mucking up the Clippers' offensive possessions and forcing them into turnovers.

The Clippers, to their discredit, succumbed to that style and became rather sloppy with the ball. 

If you add to those aspects, the Clippers, who had six turnovers in whole the first half, had eight alone midway through the third quarter as Memphis started to pad its lead. 

Rudy Gay scored 10 points in the third quarter and has 18. The Clippers wish they could have Caron Butler out there guarding Gay, but Butler has a broken left hand and is on the sideline wearing a very nice suit.

The Grizzlies took their biggest lead of the game (61-54) with about seven minutes left, but their lead stayed at five points for most of the quarter, depending on when Paul scored.

Each team is also quite aware that the game is winding down and possessions are becoming more hard-fought and more physical.

This could be a fun and feisty fourth quarter. 

Grizzlies 51, Clippers 47 (halftime)

There's the Grizzlies squad that ought to be playing spirited basketball in front of a spirited home crowd with its ought-to-be-spirited backs against the wall...

Memphis re-gathered itself after a poor first quarter and took its first lead midway through the second quarter after the Clippers' defense and offense let up, not playing with the kind of intensity it opened the game with.

That's partly because L.A.'s back-ups played...poorly, shall we say.

After the score was tied at 37, the Grizzlies went on a 7-0 run before Chris Paul cut through the lane for a crowd-quieting layup. But Memphis answered on the other end with an easy bucket by Marc Gasol. Not too long later, Paul hit a three-point shot to pull L.A. to within one.

For most of the quarter, the Clippers' offense resorted to its old ways of dribbling around for a good while before jacking up a shot that most coaches would call ill-advised. 

But it's still a close game because Paul has been playing quite well. He has a game-high 16 points and has made six of eight shots, including both his three-point shots. 

Overall, the Clippers are shooting well: 54% (19 for 35).

Memphis is shooting pretty well, too: 48% (20 for 42).

No Memphis player has scored in double figures, but seven have at least six points and four have eight points.

Blake Griffin has six points and three rebounds. 

Of concern for the Clippers is Memphis' rebounding prowess. The Grizzlies have 20 rebounds, including 11 on offensive end, to the Clippers' 11 overall.

Memphis also has 26 points in the paint while the Clippers have scored 18 there. 

Clippers 26, Grizzlies 23 (end of first quarter)

You'd have figured -- and likely bet a good deal of money, if you're into that sort of thing -- that Memphis would have come out spitting mad at the start of Wednesday's game, looking to destroy the Clippers after suffering a humilating and historic loss on Sunday in Game 1.

But that was not the case in Game 2 here. (Gambling is risky; you should know this.) 

The Clippers looked calm, cool and collected in warm-ups and they looked quite fired up in the first few minutes, jumping out to a quick 6-1 lead and then led 10-3. 

(Note: the Clippers didn't lead until the final minute of Game 1, but they took their first lead in the opening minute of Game 2 on an alley-oop dunk (Chris Paul to DeAndre Jordan), which was a nice opening statement for the road team at a packed and loud FedEx Forum.)

The Clippers started out hot, making nine of 14 shots, while the Grizzlies were not, making just seven of 20. That's a big difference from the last game: Clippers are hot (9/14), Grizzlies are not (7/20).

Chris Paul had eight points in the quarter to lead the Clippers. Zach Randolph had seven points to lead Memphis.

Pregame

Clippers Coach Vinny Del Negro is a fan of his team's second unit -- so much so that after much deliberation (or at least it seemed that way) he told the media before Wednesday's game that he has decided to start Bobby Simmons in place of the injured small forward Caron Butler.

By starting Simmons instead of guard Nick Young, Del Negro will keep Young in what has been Young's most effective role: reserve spark-plug. It was expected that Young would get the starting nod because of his size (6-foot-7) and his scoring ability versus Simmons, who averaged just 2.9 points during the regular season and hasn't played in the Clippers' last three games. 

RELATED:

Backups answer the call for Clippers

Nick Young likely to start at Memphis in place of Caron Butler

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

Game updates: Clippers vs. Grizzlies, Game 2

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