All season, the Memphis Grizzlies have been a fourth-quarter team.
Get a close game into the final five or so minutes, and the Griz made all the right
plays and were able to escape time after time.
During the regular season, the Grizzlies were 30-5 when entering the fourth quarter
with a lead. They were 16-6 winning games by five points or less, including 3-0 in
But three games into their first-round series with the Clippers, lousy fourth quarters
are the reason the Grizzlies trail 2-1 in the series after the Clips' second one-point win
over Memphis, an 87-86 victory in Game 3 on Saturday in Staples Center.
Although the comeback from a seven-point deficit at the start of the third quarter
wasn't as dramatic as the Clippers rallying from 24 down with eight minutes left in Game 1
in Memphis for a 99-98 win, the script was the same.
The Grizzlies go stone cold. Clippers point guard Chris Paul gets everyone involved.
The Clippers shove around the Griz. Forward Rudy Gay misses a game-winning shot.
"We won a game because we executed down the stretch in the fourth quarter," Griz coach
Lionel Hollins said, "and we lost two games because we haven't. That's been the difference
regardless (of what) was the score at different times."
In the Grizzlies' two losses to the Clippers in Game 1 and Game 3, Memphis has been
outscored a combined 58-28 in the fourth quarter, with the Grizzlies making just 22.9
percent of their field goals (8-of-35) and getting outrebounded 29-12.
Saturday, Memphis shot 3-of-16 in the fourth quarter (18.8 percent), going 1-for-13 at
one point and without a field goal for 6:58 until Gay hit back-to-back treys to give his
team a chance when the Clips' Eric Bledsoe missed two free throws with eight seconds left.
Gay's double-clutch 20-footer rimmed out.
"We're supposed to have a physical team, but they did to us what we're supposed to do
to them," Gay said. "They imposed their will. They got to the lane. They played gritty
basketball. They got rebounds and second-chance points."
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