Behind Chris Paul, the L.A. Clippers took a commanding 3-1 series lead. Only eight teams in NBA history have ever overcome a 3-1 deficit to win a playoff series. The Memphis Grizzlies had been 2-13 entering Friday night in road playoff games; however they were able to work their way back after trailing by as many as eight points at 76-68 early in the fourth quarter.
Chris Paul was nothing but a spectator. Blake Griffin had been relegated to cheerleader duty as Eric Bledsoe and Reggie Evans led the defensive charge for the Clippers to take their first lead since early in the first quarter when they led 8-7.
However, it wasn't enough. Chris Paul and Blake Griffin were clearly not at full strength after suffering injuries in Game Five and the Clippers fell for the second straight game, 90-88 after pulling ahead in the best-of-seven series with a commanding 3-1 lead.
With only one game to separate the teams, the Clippers travel to Memphis tomorrow morning to prepare for a decisive Game Seven on national television, aired on ABC at 1:00 pm EST/10:00 am PST on Mother's Day, May 13, 2012.
You clicked here because you have an opinion. You arrived at this page because you truly believe that with a Game Seven in Memphis, there is absolutely no way the Clippers can advance to the second round.
I'm here to tell you that you are dead wrong.
There is one weapon L.A. possesses that the Grizzlies cannot counter: Chris Paul.
Yes, he failed to show up in Game Six due to his right hip pointer, only posting 11 points, five boards, seven assists and three steals. However, most read the box score without truly internalizing the turnover stat.
Paul's two turnovers in the fourth quarter (and three overall) proved costly as the Grizzlies took full advantage and never looked back. Without their leader at full strength to close out their opponent, the Clippers were like a chicken without a head, left to fend for themselves at the most crucial point in their young postseason lives.
Entering Game Seven on Sunday morning/afternoon, the Clippers have to feel somewhat confident.
They not only have defeated the Grizzlies in a game that is sure to be featured as a classic on NBA TV for the next 15 years, they also possess the most feared weapon in this series in Chris Paul.
A healthy and mature Blake Griffin will prove to be the X-Factor in this decisive Game Seven as his productivity will be on full display in front of a national television audience. This is Blake's time to shine as the entire country will tune in to watch him as he enters into uncharted territory, vying to hang on to his team's postseason glory and put on an offensive show.
The Clippers supporting cast has proved to be inconsistent at best.
Deandre Jordan has been nonexistent on both ends of the floor and it seems as though his starting spot may be in jeopardy because of his inability to contribute in crucial moments.
Reggie Evans has averaged nine rebounds per game in limited minutes and played tremendous defense on Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol down the stretch, however he is close to inept on the offensive end and that has crippled that Clippers attack as the Grizzlies are able to focus more on Paul and Griffin, forcing the supporting cast to take crucial shots down the stretch, effectively placing the Clippers fate in the hands of role players.
If Paul and Griffin are able to perform up to standards, there should be no reason the Clippers cannot advance. Chris Paul has proved that when healthy, there is no defense the Grizzlies can throw at him to slow his swag. He has clearly proven that his competitive drive allows him to play at another level where he is literally indefensible at any rate.
Memphis has attempted to thwart his efforts. However, his offensive prowess has led the Clippers to three wins this series. Can the Clippers overcome adversity and send the Grizzlies home early? Or will the Grizzlies make history once again this postseason and advance to the second round?
The Clippers will attack from the start with Chris Paul recording one of his remarkable postseason double-double's en-route to a Clippers series victory on the Grizzlies home court.
Lionel Hollins has yet to devise a defensive scheme to stop Paul down the stretch and it seems as though his innate ability to draw fouls and hit clutch shots and free throws will allow the Clippers to defeat Memphis on their home floor, sending the Grizzly team and their sulking fans home for the remainder of the playoffs.
The Clippers will win Game Seven as Chris Paul takes center stage, proving once again that his MVP candidacy is legitimate.
Do you think the Grizzlies will make history and take Game Seven? Or do you think Chris Paul's offensive prowess will guide the Clippers to only their second playoff series victory since moving West? Do not hesitate to share your opinions.