The Memphis Grizzlies came into L.A. and not only stole home court from the Clippers but stole their thunder in this series with an easy 103-93 win at Staples Center and a 3 games to 2 first round lead. One of the key storylines was a Blake Griffin high ankle sprain that was kept from everyone until around gametime and the big redhead was only able to play 19 minutes on it before calling it a night which made Chris Paul’s job even more intense.
Here I was asking CP3 and his coaches the past several days why he wasn’t shooting more instead of waiting for crunch time and now he was simply TOO MUCH of a one-man show scoring 21 of his game high 35 in the first half and was joined ONLY by Jamaal Crawford in double figures with 15. Paul ended up 11 for 24 from from the floor and 11/11 from the free throw line but it was far enough as the Clips had NO answer AGAIN for the 2 Memphis bigs. Former Clipper Zack Randolph led his club with 25 pts. and 11 boards while Marc Gasol added 21 and 8 and now it’s back to Tennessee where the Griz look to turn the Clips into ‘Flop City’ on Friday night and ruin what was hoped to be a very special post-season in L.A.
The following are postgame comments that I gathered…
First cautiously optimistic Memphis coach Lionel Hollins, who I always liked to watch as a player (I’m one of the few left around here who remembers him with a uni on):
Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro who’s job could be on the line this week if his guys don’t figure out a way to pull this series out with 2 straight wins:
Blake Griffin who’s listed as a gametime decision for game 6 and it would be minor miracle if he was even thinking about being near 100%:
Clippers guard Jamaal Crawford told me his team hasn’t lost confidence yet…BUT:
Clippers forward Matt Barnes is a fighter and is far from allowing the Grizzlies to get into his head:
Clippers guard Willie Green has surprisingly only played a few minutes of garbage time in this series but he’s always gracious about allowing me to get his thoughts and he’s well past the ‘put me in coach’ phase:
And finally Griz defensive specialist Tony Allen was the last one standing in his locker room when I ran in there late–and he gave me a few thoughts on where his head is at now while first praising teammate Tayshawn Prince who’s come alive scoring 7 of his 15 pts. down the stretch:
So it’s now ‘Do or Die’ or any other cliche you want to use for the Clips and we’ll see what they’re made of tomorrow night as at least 5-6 pt. road underdogs while Clipper Nation prays for a game 7 at home on Sunday. At least you can enjoy every minute of sweat from Memphis on KFWB Newstalk 980 starting at 5:30 with ‘Lob City’. 6:35ish first tip.