Thanks to a 33-point fourth quarter, the Memphis Grizzlies prevailed by a score of 104-83 in Game 4 to even their series with the Los Angeles Clippers at two games apiece.
Game 4 proved to be a gritty affair in which the Grizzlies dictated the pace, as Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol anchored a Memphis offense that shot 50.6 percent from the field and 33.3 percent from beyond the arc.
In typical Memphis fashion, the Grizzlies held their own on the defensive end, locking up the Clippers to the tune of 41 percent shooting from the field and 19 percent from three.
Randolph was an absolute force, abusing the Clippers frontcourt all game long with his brute strength and relentless effort. On the night, Randolph finished with 24 points and nine rebounds in 37 minutes.
Working in tandem with Randolph, Gasol was able to make life miserable for DeAndre Jordan.
Dragging Jordan 12 feet away from the basket, Gasol continually flashed the mid-range jumper that makes him such a diverse offensive weapon, hitting on 9-of-14 attempts from the field.
Finishing with 24 points, 13 rebounds and three blocks, Gasol proved that he needs to be respected as one of the game's most valuable two-way weapons.
Meanwhile, for the Clippers, Chris Paul and Blake Griffin were the team's only constants. Paul led the way with 19 points (7-of-13 shooting) and six assists (one turnover), while Griffin pitched in 19 points and 10 rebounds.
The Clippers simply couldn't crack the league's stingiest defense, evident by the fact that only three L.A. players scored in double figures. Contrastingly, all five Grizzlies starters finished in double figures.
Thanks to an uncharacteristically hot offensive start, the Grizzlies were able to outscore the Clippers, 33-25, in the first quarter.
What was more encouraging for Lionel Hollins' bunch was that the perimeter trio of Mike Conley, Tony Allen and Tayshaun Prince got the party started, scoring the team's first 14 points, including seven from Prince.
As if that wasn't enough, Randolph got off to a red-hot 5-of-6 start (10 points), helping the Grizzlies shoot a staggering 54.2 percent from the field in the first.
With an emphasis on getting into the lane, the Grizzlies were able to torch the Clippers inside over the game's first 24 minutes, outscoring their opponents, 28-20, in the paint.
However, the Clippers proved to be resilient.
The league's best bench shouldered the offensive load throughout the first half, with six different players getting in on the action by the 10-minute mark in the second quarter.
To put things in perspective, the Clippers reserves scored 25 first-half points, compared to just 22 from the team's starters. In fact, no starter not named Paul or Griffin recorded a single point in the first half.
Thanks to Paul's big 14-point, five-assist first half, the Clippers were able to erase a 12-point Memphis lead and head into the break on top.
Unfortunately, the lead evaporated in the second half, as the aggressive Memphis defense was too much for an overwhelmed Clippers team to overcome.
As was the case in Game 3, the Grizzlies drastically out-rebounded the Clippers in Game 4 by a margin of 45 to 28.
One other performance that should not go without mention was that of Mike Conley.
Despite shooting 38.5 percent from the field, Conley kept at it and found other ways to contribute, dishing out 13 assists in the win.
The series shifts back to Staples Center on Tuesday night when the Clippers and Grizzlies meet in Game 5 at 10:30 p.m. ET.
Mystery surrounds the first half of Game 4 after the Chicago Bulls and Brooklyn Nets took three overtimes to decide a winner.
People are going to trade tapes of the first 18 minutes of Grizz/Clippers on the black market like it's the Dead.— Dan Devine (@YourManDevine) April 27, 2013
After big-time performances in Games 3 and 4, it's official: Randolph is back.
Z-BO back.— Jared Dubin (@JADubin5) April 27, 2013
Over the course of the series, Quincy Pondexter has emerged as a valuable reserve complement for the Grizzlies. He scored 10 points on Saturday.
Seems like Hollins feels he has a nice compromise candidate w/ Pondexter: More size than J. Bayless, more stretch than Tony Allen.— Kevin Arnovitz (@kevinarnovitz) April 27, 2013
The Grizzlies started the fourth quarter on an 11-5 run as Griffin sat on the bench.
Just a suggestion: might want to get Blake Griffin back out there.— Jared Dubin (@JADubin5) April 27, 2013
A year after pulling off a stunning come-from-behind win in Memphis, the Clippers were unable to do the same in Game 4.
Clippers down big in Memphis last year: "Let's fight our way back into it." - Reggie Evans. This year: "Khloe, get my Skittles ready" - Odom— Zach Harper (@talkhoops) April 27, 2013