I bet the Memphis Grizzlies really wish they could have that 27 point lead in game 1 back right about now.
The Los Angeles Clippers went in to the FedExForum Sunday afternoon and defeated Memphis in a grueling game 7 war 82-72. This was only the third playoff series win in franchise history for the Clippers. They will now move on to face the #1 seeded San Antonio Spurs in the Western Conference semi-finals.
WHO SAID THE CLIPPERS AREN’T DEEP?
The bench won this game for Los Angeles. Yes, the bench. I’m surprised too.
25 of their 27 fourth quarter points were scored by Clipper reserves. The Clippers bench outscored Memphis’ 41-11 overall. That was the difference-maker in this game.
Only one starter (Chris Paul: 17 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists) scored in double-digits for Los Angeles. Half of the Clippers offense came from Eric Bledsoe (8 points, 3 assists), Nick Young (13 points, 2 rebounds), Kenyon Martin (11 points, 10 rebounds) and Mo Williams (9 points, 1 steal). Reggie Evans also contributed with 9 rebounds and 1 block in 19 minutes of action.
Blake Griffin was a ghost in game 7. He finished with just 8 points and 4 rebounds in 28 minutes. What I assume is that coach Vinny Del Negro had such high confidence in his bench to close out this game that he didn’t feel the need to play Griffin down the stretch. It certainly wasn’t to be cautious with his “apparent” left knee injury. It couldn’t have hurt that much….
Steve Smith said it best. “Are you hurt or not?”. The Clippers got lucky in game 7 with their bench production overshadowing Griffin’s lack of success. That won’t last forever. Whether he is hurt or not (I’ll take the latter), Los Angeles needs Griffin to be focused and healthy going into the San Antonio series.
This win was a stepping stone for the Clippers organization. Not only was it the third series win in franchise history (second since the movie to Los Angeles), but it was also the first game 7 win as well. The hard work shouldn’t stop here though.
The Spurs are waiting.
GRIZZLIES BLOW IT
I figured home-court advantage would be the deciding factor in this series. The Grizzlies were 26-7 at home during the regular season. The Clippers were 16-17 on the road. It made sense to go with the Grizzlies.
I guess you never really know these days. Memphis blew 2 games at the FedExForum in this series, including the all important game 7 yesterday afternoon.
This series should have been won in 6 if not for that demoralizing 27 point comeback by Los Angeles in game 1. The reality is that Memphis will now be heading home wondering “what if?”.
The Clippers shot terrible from the field (37%) in this game, but the Grizzlies shot even worse (32%).
O.J Mayo (4 points, 7 rebounds) and starting point guard Mike Conley (7 points, 5 assists) shot a combined 3 for 24 from the field. I expected more from the Grizzlies backcourt in a high pressure game 7 scenario.
There was such high hopes for this franchise after its showing in last years playoffs. Rudy Gay (19 points, 9 rebounds) had returned from injury and was ready to rejoin a Grizzlies roster who was ready to go even deeper this go-around.
I’m going to sum up this series in 2 words for the Memphis Grizzlies….
QUOTES OF THE GAME
”Our bench was our MVP. They realized what they had to do. We had a lot of guys hurt, so we just continued to grind.” – Clippers guard Randy Foye
‘I felt like we should have won earlier. But it doesn’t matter. As long as you win, I think it is a step in the right direction for our franchise. – Clippers guard Chris Paul
TWEET OF THE GAME
The LA Clippers won a Playoff Series!!! Race to your local grocery store to stock up on bottled water and non perishable food
— Not Brian Scalabrine (@BScalabrine24) May 13, 2012
– I love how the Clippers players grabbed that Chris Paul pacifier cutout off the court at the end of the game and celebrated with it in the locker room. Say what you will about the man, but Paul comes to play every single night. A baby he is not.
– For the first time this postseason, I got a pick wrong. I had the Memphis Grizzlies in 7. I was wrong. The Los Angeles Clippers are moving on and the Grizzlies are going home. The Grizzlies SHOULD have won this series, but I will be a good sport. I believe SCIC writer John Armstrong was the only one of us to pick L.A. Hi-5 to John! Don’t call a technical!
Christopher Walder is a sports blogger and lead editor for Sir Charles in Charge. You may follow him on Twitter @WalderSports