Despite trailing by nearly 30 points in the second half, the Clippers beat the Memphis Grizzlies 99-98 behind a monster 26-1 run in the fourth quarter.
The Grizzlies were on a rampage for the majority of the game, dominating inside and unleashing a barrage of three pointers. But with the clock winding down, Memphis got complacent—and the Clippers took advantage.
Behind some crazy defense from Reggie Evans, a few three-balls from Nick Young, and some clutch free throw shooting by Blake Griffin and Chris Paul, the Clippers stole Game 1 and home court advantage for the series.
Tweets of the Night
After Mike Conley went straight bonkers in the third quarter, Michael Lee of the Washington Post raised an interesting question. The answer, of course, is nobody.
How many people charted Mike Conley Jr. to have a better career than Greg Oden?— Michael Lee (@MrMichaelLee) April 30, 2012
Kevin Arnovitz of ESPN made a solid analogy when watching Griffin and Randolph battle down low.
The Blake-ZBo battle for position on the Grizz end of the floor is pure WrestleMania.— Kevin Arnovitz (@kevinarnovitz) April 30, 2012
When Griffin was called for a moving screen in the third quarter, Mike Procopio of Hoop Consultants brought up a pretty valid point.
Blake Griffin did not commit a moving screen, because he hasn't screened anyone since he was at Oklahoma— Mike Procopio (@HoopConsultants) April 30, 2012
Sebastian Pruiti of Grantland jumped in on the Blake-bashing as well.
Dribble...dribble...dribble...dribble...dribble #BlakeGriffinPostMoves— SebastianPruiti (@SebastianPruiti) April 30, 2012
What's going on in Memphis right now is why Thibodeau kept Rose in the game yesterday.— Brian Windhorst (@WindhorstESPN) April 30, 2012
Down one with under 10 seconds left, the Grizzlies turned to Rudy Gay. However, Kenyon Martin sealed the win for L.A. by playing some great one-on-one defense.
Grades for Key Clippers Players
Blake Griffin: C-
Griffin had a pretty awful game overall, but he made up for it by burying two clutch free throws in the final minute. This was borderline miraculous considering he shot just 52.1 percent from the line this season.
Before that, Griffin's game was anything but spectacular. Although he finished 7-of-15 from the field, he struggled offensively throughout. He also mustered just seven rebounds on the day.
Chris Paul: B+
Paul finished with 14 points and 11 assists. He wasn't overly impressive throughout, but he was a key part of their incredible comeback.
He consistently found open teammates and drained the go-ahead free throws in the final seconds. Considering he can play much better than he did today, the Grizzlies should be highly concerned.
Grades for Key Grizzlies Players
Mike Conley: B+
Conley was unstoppable from deep, draining all five of his three pointers on the night. He emphatically proved that he's one of the most underrated point guards in the league, going for 17 points, eight assists and five rebounds in Game 1.
Unfortunately, he contributed to the Grizzlies' demise by shying away from Marc Gasol down the stretch. The big man was the catalyst of their early dominance, but when Conley and the guards stopped feeding him, the Clippers made their move.
Zach Randolph: D
Randolph was an animal at times, but he didn't step up when his team needed him most. When the Clippers were mounting their ferocious comeback, Randolph was nonexistent.
For the day, he finished with as many turnovers (3) as made field goals, and he only pulled down six rebounds. For the best player on a playoff team, those numbers are unacceptable.
Game MVP: Reggie Evans and Nick Young
Two of the lesser known Clippers earned Co-MVP honors after their clutch performances.
Evans sparked the comeback by playing some fiery defense, and he even hit a go-ahead layup late in the fourth.
Meanwhile, Young caught fire like an NBA Jam character in the fourth quarter. With time winding down, he splashed three three-pointers in one minute to turn the momentum for good.
The Grizzlies will look to avoid a devastating 0-2 hole on Wednesday. The game starts at 9:30 p.m. ET and will be televised live on TNT.
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