Found May 04, 2013 on
Fox Sports West:
Vinny Del Negro
Los Angeles Clippers
Oklahoma City Thunder
The frustration was written on their faces with about 4 minutes left in the fourth quarter. The Clippers knew they needed a big comeback Friday night, but it just wasnt in them.
Their grand season of firsts ended with a 118-105 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies at FedEx Forum, and the sight of Chris Paul leaving the floor with 2 minutes, 29 seconds left after getting his second technical foul is one that wont disappear for a while.
The Clippers did their best to stay alive and force a deciding seventh game at Staples Center, but after winning Games 1 and 2 on their home court, they dropped four in a row to a Grizzlies team that turned out to be better, tougher and more resilient. So its the Grizzlies who will advance to play the Oklahoma City Thunder the Western Conference semifinals.
Here are three talking points from Game 6 that will linger:
1. Lets get physical
The Clippers knew theyd have to assume a rough-and-tumble style against the Grizzlies, whose gritty style helped them take command of the series. But they didnt expect it would turn into a foul-fest.
The Clippers were called for 33 fouls, sending Memphis to the line for 47 free throws. They were also hit with five technical fouls by Joey Crawfords crew, including two on Paul that led to his fourth-quarter ejection.
And lets not forget the wrestling match in the third quarter between Zach Randolph and Blake Griffin, who played almost 14 minutes despite a high right ankle sprain that threatened to keep him on the bench. Randolph got his arm around Griffins neck but wasnt ejected.
Bottom line: The Clippers made 41 baskets compared to 36 for Memphis, but the Grizzlies converted 38 free throws.
2. Small ball helps comeback
The Clippers kept the game close through the first half but slipped back in the third quarter when the Grizzlies out-scored them 34-26. But coach Vinny Del Negro, desperate to find a combination that worked, went with an effective small lineup that included Paul, Willie Green, Grant Hill, Matt Barnes and Lamar Odom.
That group helped the Clippers close to 85-79 late in the third quarter, but Memphis went on a 7-0 run in the final 38 seconds before the buzzer.
Paul had 28 points, but Barnes was the Clippers most effective scorer, totaling a career playoff high 30 points on 11-of-14 shooting and 6-of-7 three-point accuracy.
Worth noting: Sixth man Jamal Crawford missed all five shots he took and played just 12 minutes. That didnt help.
3. Grizzlies cant shoot from outside? They sure can
Memphis was one of the leagues worst three-point shooting teams during the regular season, which is precisely why they didnt shoot much from long distance. But at times during the series and Friday night the Grizzlies made outside shots to blunt every Clippers comeback attempt.
In the fourth quarter, after Caron Butler scored from outside to move the Clippers to within six points with 5:15 to play, guards Mike Conley and Jerryd Bayless hit consecutive three-pointers for a 111-99 lead with 3:06 left. Coney and Randolph scored 23 each for Memphis.
The Grizzlies converted 8 of 19 from three-point range, essentially crushing the Clippers late-game hopes and their season.
BEST OF MAXIM
Chris Paul has made no commitments to returning to the Los Angeles Clippers when he becomes a free agent in the offseason.
Never good when your franchise player says he needs to pray on coming back to the team or not. You might have forgotten, but Chris Paul is in the same situation as Dwight Howard.
Their next contract may well be their last big one, so they have to make a decision.
Stay with their current team for more money or jump ship to a team that is better position to win a title. Here is what...
A working thesis: The Mavs' No. 1 free-agency target this summer is Chris Paul. Besides moving Heaven and Earth to bring the stellar point guard to Dallas, what financial moves would the Mavs need to make in order to clear the room for a max contract? If you know the way the rules work, it's easier than you think:
PLAYA VISTA, Calif. The Clippers ability to repeat this seasons success and avoid the awful stumble that took place in their first-round playoff loss will turn on the decision of one player.
No surprise there, right?
The 118-105 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies on Friday night remained a hot topic on Saturday as players cleaned out their lockers and did their exit interviews...
For all of the bad publicity that Dwight Howard has been getting headed into free agency, Los Angeles Clippers point guard Chris Paul has quietly been in the exact same position. Eerily getting ejected in his last game just like Dwight to end his season, Paul and the Clippers now face questions about his future. [...]
No, not at basketball: by the end of the six game series with his Clippers against the Grizzlies, he was just about the only Clipper I wanted to see play basketball ever again.
No, where Paul failed was that he allowed the frustration of the here and now -- getting bounced in six games against a Grizzly team that last year crushed him physically while losing, and this year crushed...
Tweet Chris Paul is arguably the best point guard in the NBA. His clutch performance, leadership ability, and ability to attack defenses in so many ways make his incredibly versatile and dangerous. In game six of the Clippers series with the Grizzlies, Paul unleashed an absolutely nasty dribble-fake on Quincy Pondexter: It legitimately looks like [...]
Chris Paul and Blake Griffin regarded each other with weary disbelief in the locker room in Memphis after the Los Angeles Clippers' fourth straight playoff loss.
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After a regular season unlike anything in the Clippers' mostly miserable history, everything ended with a decidedly Clipper...
The season has ended for the Los Angeles Clippers, but they have an important summer ahead of them, specifically when it comes to the future of All-Star point guard Chris Paul. A pending free agent, Paul has given no indication on whether or not he’s returning to the Clippers next season, as he told reporters – including Arash Markazi of ESPN Los Angeles – that it’s going...
Chris Paul has already spoken with Matt Barnes about staying with the Los Angeles Clippers.
"Chris and I have already been talking about it," Barnes said while speaking to reporters at the Clippers’ training facility on Saturday. "We talked about it on the plane last night. He's obviously the franchise player but we also talked about what I was thinking about...
TELLING IT LIKE IT IS
Grizzlies forward Zach Randolph isn't feeling any sympathy for the ankle injury suffered by Clippers star Blake Griffin during the team's playoff series.
Blake Griffin, who drew top billing during his rookie year with the Los Angeles Clippers -- and later increased his popularity by winning the Slam Dunk contest -- doesn’t mind taking a backseat to Chris Paul.
"Somebody tried to say last year, 'Man, you went from Batman to Robin real quick,'" Griffin said. "But honestly, to me, it was like, 'Batman and...
-It’s playoff basketball which mean players are banged up but will doing everything in their power to play. All you have to do is look at David Lee of the Golden State Warriors. Lee was ruled out of the playoffs a couple of days ago but he was cleared to play last night.
Lee checked into the game late in the 1st quarter and played a couple of minutes. Lee is the league’s leader...
Never has a Los Angeles meltdown been met with more high-fives in Dallas. Well, the sweep of the defending champion Lakers in two years back was pretty darn close.
But what's transpired for LaLa Land's two basketball franchises over the past couple of weeks has Mavericks fans absolutely giddy with hope.
Same goes for the front office, as a snowball's chance suddenly...
The first round of the 2013-14 playoffs is in the books and the second round will start on Sunday. The Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs look like the overwhelming favorites to reach the Finals, but like Westbrook’s injury showed us, one play can shift the odds the other way. Here is how they rank going into the second round:
1) Miami Heat - Lebron James will receive his...