Clippers center DeAndre Jordan (6) gives help to teammate Randy Foye (4)… (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles…)
The Clippers moved one step closer to their first appearance in the second round of the playoffs since 2006 with a hard-fought 101-97 overtime victory over the Memphis Grizzlies in their Western Conference playoff series on Monday night at Staples Center.
The Clippers take a 3-1 series lead into Wednesday's Game 5 at Memphis.
Blake Griffin and Chris Paul led the Clippers, as usual. Griffin had 30 points and seven assists, but only five rebounds, before fouling out with 2:26 to play in overtime. Paul had 27 points, seven assists and nine rebounds and took over in overtime with eight points.
Paul made two baskets and Griffin added a basket and two free throws to give the Clippers a 95-89 lead in overtime.
Rudy Gay cut it to two before Paul added another bucket with 1:20 to go, but Paul made the lead 99-93 with 44.5 seconds left on a running banker. A Marc Gasol dunk was followed by a Mike Conley layup with 10 seconds left to make it a two-point game.
The Grizzlies had a foul to give, forcing the Clippers to inbound the ball a second consecutive time. Mo Williams took the inbounds pass and was fouled. He went to the line with 7.2 seconds left and made both to seal the victory.
Conley finished with 25 points and Gay had 23 to lead Memphis.
In front of another raucous sellout crowd in Staples Center, the game took on a physical, fast-paced tone at the start and never let up. It seemed to have the speed of playoff hockey ... and the contact too.
Two quick baskets by Memphiscut the Clippers lead to 69-68 practically before the Clippers could lace up their shoes for the final quarter. Memphis tied the score when Gay made one of two free throws after being fouled by Nick Young.
Hamed Haddadi's free throw gave Memphis its first lead of the second half, 70-69, with 9 1/2 minutes to play in the fourth quarter.
After the teams traded baskets, Griffin hammered home a dunk and made it a three-point play with a free throw.
Griffin found Young for a three-pointer and a 77-72 Clippers lead at the midway point of the fourth quarter.
After a timeout, Eric Bledsoe made a steal, was fouled on the breakaway and made both free throws for a seven-point lead. When Griffin found Williams for another three-pointer, the lead was 10 again. Gay quieted the crowd with a bucket before Griffin made two free throws.
Griffin picked up his fifth foul with 4:14 to play on a driving Gay, and Griffin screamed into his jersey in frustration.
Gay made two free throws, then a jumper with Griffin on the bench to cut the lead to six.
Conley's three-pointer cut the Clippers' led to 84-81 with 2:59 to play and forced a Clippers timeout.
Reggie Evans managed one of two free throws with 1:46 left to increase the lead to four before Zach Randolph cut it to two. A shot-clock violation by the Clippers gave Memphis the ball with 1:01 to play.
Gay, guarded by Griffin who had five fouls, tied the score at 85-85 with a short jumper with 35.5 seconds to play.
With 27 seconds to play, Paul drove hard to the right side and scored to give the Clippers an 87-85 lead.
Randolph went to the line with 20.4 left and made both, with the Clippers calling timeout. The Clippers couldn't get off a decent shot as Paul drove into the lane and was swarmed by defenders.
Clippers 87, Memphis 87 (after fourth quarter)
The Memphis Grizzlies forced the Clippers into overtime in Game 4 of their playoff series at a raucous Staples Center.
Rudy Gay and Mike Conley led a fourth-quarter charge; each has 21 points.
Chris Paul and Blake Griffin led the Clippers. Griffin has 26 points and Paul has 19, but Memphis holds a 46-32 rebounding edge.
Paul couldn't get off a good shot on the Clippers' final possession, setting up the overtime.
Clippers 69, Grizzlies 64 (end of third quarter)
Is this game physical? Blake Griffin might think so. He has been hit hard every time he gets the ball inside, and unlike in the first half when he was four for six from the free-throw line, he began to struggle in the third, going one for five.
Chris Paul, as usual, is guiding the Clipper ship. He has 17 points, seven assists and eight rebounds through three quarters. Mike Conley is directing the Grizzlies with 18 points.
The Clippers made only six of 18 shots in the second quarter after making 11 of 18 in the first and needed to improve on that second-quarter statistic in the second half. They improved only slightly, making seven of 17 shots in the third quarter.
But they turned the ball over only six times in the first three quarters.
A statistical anomaly by midway through the quarter: Paul was the Clippers' leading rebounder with eight; Blake Griffin had one. Still, the Clippers had a seven-point lead at 60-53 after a DeAndre Jordan three-foot bank shot.
Conley, the Grizzlies' quick point guard, scored to cut the lead to five, but Paul offset that bucket with two more free throws.