Grizzlies Even Series 1-1, Beat Clippers 105-98
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — O.J. Mayo scored 10 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter, and the Memphis Grizzlies bounced back to beat the Los Angeles Clippers 105-98 on Wednesday night.
The Grizzlies blew a 27-point lead in losing Game 1 on Sunday night and letting the Clippers grab home-court advantage in the best-of-seven, first-round Western Conference series. They got back to their physical style and evened the series.
Game 3 is Saturday in Los Angeles.
Rudy Gay also scored 21 points as Memphis showed off its depth with six players reaching double figures. Mike Conley had 19, Zach Randolph 15, Marreese Speights 11 and Tony Allen 10.
All-Star guard Chris Paul led the Clippers with 29 points. Blake Griffin had 22, and Mo Williams and Nick Young 11 apiece.
The Grizzlies had the lead going into the fourth quarter for a second straight game. This time, the Clippers got no closer than four.
Memphis led 75-69 at the start of this fourth quarter, and Paul’s four-point play with 8:06 left got the Clippers to 83-79. The Grizzlies answered with Conley scoring on a driving layup, followed by another 3 from Mayo. Bobby Simmons, starting with Caron Butler out with a broken left hand, scored seven of his nine points in the fourth.
It wasn’t enough as Gay and Randolph combined to score six straight points with Gay’s basket giving Memphis its biggest lead of the night at 97-84 with 3:52 remaining. The Grizzlies sealed the victory by hitting six of 10 free throws in the final 47.6 seconds.
Both the Clippers and Grizzlies started this game as if they simply picked up Sunday night when Los Angeles finished the game on a 28-3 run.
Playing aggressively, the Clippers jumped out to a 6-1 lead as the Grizzlies missed their first four shots. Memphis didn’t hit its first shot until Conley’s driving layup with 8:19 left in the first quarter, and Gay missed his first three shots before hitting a 15-foot jumper.
The Clippers shot 64.7 percent (11 of 17) in the first quarter and hit 4 of 6 at the free throw line. But they just couldn’t match the Grizzlies who outrebounded the Clippers (37-2) with a big edge on the offensive boards (16-4), which they used to outscore them 18-6 on second-chance points. Memphis also had a 46-38 edge in the paint.
The emotions are starting to boil in this series, and the Grizzlies brought out wrestler Jerry “The King” Lawler came out and delivered a pile driver to someone dressed up as a Clippers’ fan.
That almost seemed to help spark the Grizzlies. They opened the second quarter hitting six of their first seven shots and took their first lead on a pair of free throws by Mayo at 31-30 early in the quarter. Nick Young tied it at 37 on a 3 with 6:22 left, then Marreese Speights tipped in a bucket with 5:53 left, and the Grizzlies never trailed or were tied again. Memphis led 51-47 at halftime.
Memphis hit 11 3-pointers in Game 1 and reverted back to the team that ranked 25th in the NBA from outside the arc by missing its first eight attempts Wednesday night. Mayo finally ended the drought with his 3 over Griffin with 9:32 left, and he followed with a jumper on the next possession giving Memphis an 82-73 lead.
Notes: Memphis notched its eighth straight playoff sellout going back to last spring. … The Grizzlies forced Los Angeles into 21 turnovers they turned into 25 points. Memphis had just 13 turnovers. … Titans linebacker Colin McCarthy tweeted that he was in the stands for Game 2. … Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro said Butler will see a specialist Thursday in Los Angeles.