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Chris Paul fills tall order in Clippers' win over Memphis

The guard grabs a team-leading nine rebounds to spark L.A.'s 101-97 overtime victory against the Grizzlies for a 3-1 lead in the first-round playoff series.

May 08, 2012|By Melissa Rohlin
  • Chris Paul, the Clippers' 6-foot guard, finished Monday's overtime victory over Memphis with nine rebounds, equaling the combined total of teammates Blake Griffin (five) and DeAndre Jordan (four).
Chris Paul, the Clippers' 6-foot guard, finished Monday's… (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles…)

Chris Paul, the shortest player on the Clippers roster, led the team in rebounds Monday evening.

"That was an accident," said Paul, who at 6 feet is a mere pipsqueak among a starting lineup that includes two players who are nearly a foot taller.

He finished with nine boards, equaling the combined total of Blake Griffin (five) and DeAndre Jordan (four).

Jordan had a theory as to why the team's diminutive point guard dominated in such an unusual category.

"I think he steals all our rebounds," Jordan joked. "We box the big guys out and he comes in and gets them."

The Clippers were outrebounded, 47-36, yet managed to pull off a 101-97 overtime win against the Memphis Grizzlies in Game 4 of their first-round Western Conference playoff series.

Clippers Coach Vinny Del Negro knows that is not sustainable.

"We're going to have to continually focus in on that and do a much better job than we did [Monday]," Del Negro said.

The Clippers have the worst postseason rebound average in the league, a woeful 36.5 a game. On Monday, the Grizzlies scored 20 points on second-chance points while the Clippers had only five.

Griffin, who averaged 10.9 rebounds during the regular season, is averaging 6.3 in the playoffs. Jordan has seen his rebounding average decline from 8.3 to 5.5 in the postseason.

That's partially because of the extreme physicality of the series.

Griffin, Jordan and Reggie Evans are often entangled in the arms of the Grizzlies' big men, which makes rebounding much more of a team effort than it has ever been.

"Our big guys are sacrificing some of their rebounds sometimes just to try to get bodies on Marc [Gasol] and Zach [Randolph] a little bit and other guys," Del Negro said. "They have to face-guard and battle with them, so it's very important that our guards get in there and get long rebounds and get anything they can. We gotta get five guys in the paint helping each other."

Paul, who is determined to take his team deep into the playoffs, said he's willing to help in any way possible, even if that means entering and patrolling territory in which his head reaches some of the other players' elbows.

"Us guards have to get back in the play and help those guys," Paul said. "They can't do it alone."

melissa.rohlin@latimes.com

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