Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 4/30/12

MEMPHIS -- The Memphis Grizzlies blew a 27-point lead in the game's final 14 minutes, seeing the Los Angeles Clippers battle back for a 99-98 victory Sunday in the opening game of their Western Conference first-round playoff series.

Rudy Gay missed a potential game-winning 10-foot jumper at the buzzer.

The Clippers practically conceded home-court advantage to the Grizzlies for the series when they sat out injured star guard Chris Paul in a loss to the Knicks. They felt they could get a split of the first two games in Memphis.

They are now guaranteed of that, with a comeback that sent a packed FedExForum sellout crowd of 18,119 stumbling out the exits and toward Beale Street in shock. The Clippers hit 13 of 17 shots in the fourth quarter, and they got more physical with Memphis' offense.

Nick Young was huge for the Clippers, coming off the bench to score 19 points. In the fourth quarter, he took the place of starter Caron Butler, who broke his left hand. Young drained three consecutive 3-pointers in the fourth.

Los Angeles trailed 96-84 with less than three minutes to play. Young then hit his three 3s in a row, with Memphis missing shots in between.

Paul, playing almost all of his 38 minutes with a strained groin, had 14 points and 11 rebounds and found open shooters consistently in the comeback. Blake Griffin added 16 points and seven rebounds.

Gay contributed 19 points and seven rebounds for Memphis, which got 17 points apiece from Mike Conley and O.J. Mayo.

The Grizzlies demonstrated their ball-sharing ability early. Five minutes into the game, Memphis led 15-6, hitting its first seven of 10 shots, with every starter scoring.

It just got worse for the Clippers. While the Grizzlies took an 18-point lead at the end of the first quarter by getting shots when they wanted and from where they wanted, the Clippers looked like a convoluted mess.

Paul and Griffin had a combined three points in the opening period, and each of the Clippers' All-Stars had two fouls apiece.

They stayed on the bench while the Los Angeles bench finally strung together three consecutive baskets, slicing the Grizzlies' lead to 43-30 with 6:07 left before the half. At that point, Memphis put four of its five starters back on the floor, only leaving Gay on the bench because he had two fouls.

Eventually, the Clippers got four of their five starters back on the floor for the final four minutes of the half, hoping to make a run to cut the Grizzlies' lead to single digits by halftime.

The Clippers crept back to 50-39, but Memphis closed the half with an 8-0 run, getting an above-the-rim follow dunk from Dante Cunningham to ignite the home crowd and his teammates.

Los Angeles found itself a little bit worse off than it was at the end of the first quarter, trailing 58-39 at the half.

Every time the Clippers hinted at making a serious run, the Grizzlies answered by going inside to Marc Gasol, whose 14 halftime points equaled the total for the entire Los Angeles starting frontcourt.

Gasol wound up with 14 points and six rebounds.

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