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NBA Playoffs: Clippers end game on 28-3 run, win 99-98

Apr 30, 2012, 12:37 AM EDT

Blake Griffin, Zach Randolph Getty Images

With 9 minutes and 12 seconds remaining in Game 1 of the Grizzlies-Clippers series, O.J. Mayo hit a 3 to put the Grizzlies up by 24 points in front of their hometown crowd.

The Grizzlies were doing everything perfectly: Mayo and Mike Conley were on fire from beyond the arc, the Clippers had no answers for Marc Gasol in the post, and Memphis’ tough-as-nails defense was shutting down the Clippers’ simplistic pick-and-roll attack with ease. To make matters even worse for the Clippers, Caron Butler was forced to leave the game with a fractured left hand. Game 1 appeared to be, for all intents and purposes, in the books.

Then the run happened.

Memphis’ offense stalled as they started settling for outside jumpers instead of looking inside, and their only field goal in the last 9:12 of the game was a Rudy Gay jumper with 28 seconds remaining. Meanwhile, the Clippers finally got hot, and cut the Memphis lead from 12 to 3 when Nick Young made 3 consecutive 3-pointers in the span of a single minute. Then Blake Griffin made two free throws, Reggie Evans got a go-ahead layup to fall, and Paul answered a go-ahead jumper on Memphis’ side by drawing a foul and draining both free throws. Gay missed a jumper on the last possession of the game, and the Grizzlies found themselves on the wrong side of one of the worst collapses in playoff history.

This is a crushing defeat for the Grizzlies, who finished the regular season with a 26-7 home record. Now they’ve lost their home-court advantage, and after this loss, game 2 is almost a must-win situation for Memphis. Los Angeles, meanwhile, should be worried about how futile their offense was against the Grizzlies for the first 39 minutes of the game, but should take solace in the fact that the Grizzlies can’t count on shooting 68.8% from beyond the arc every night, or any other night in this series. After 9 crazy minutes of basketball, the Clippers managed to snag victory from the jaws of defeat, and they are now in total command of this first-round series. We’ll see if they can carry that momentum over to Game 2.

  1. slumdog66 - Apr 30, 2012 at 12:45 AM

    That was ridiculous

  2. rodgersmvp - Apr 30, 2012 at 12:50 AM

    Absolutely redonkulous.

  3. mendenhallfumblemachine - Apr 30, 2012 at 12:55 AM

    Wow.

  4. abchome - Apr 30, 2012 at 1:18 AM

    WOW!!!

  5. connect2bh - Apr 30, 2012 at 1:21 AM

    If Zach Randolph doesnt step it up, Clips win the series..

  6. moseskkim - Apr 30, 2012 at 1:34 AM

    gotta love the fight in the clippers. they get down big in the 1st quarter and kept it even as far as total points in the 2nd and 3rd quarters. how they kept fighting.. i dont understand. thats why i love chris paul. messed up groin.. his determination to win was the key. sure reggie evans plays one way (hard), sure bledsoe was big, sure youngs shooting was big. u need leadership and when u got someone who believes the team can win down 27 in the 2nd half, u gotta give him the credit. CP3 my hero.

  7. phx1311 - Apr 30, 2012 at 1:45 AM

    I stopped payin attention and next thing I know the clips are down 6 and two blinks later they are up one, major choke job by the griz tonight but this should be a good series !!!

  8. oside760 - Apr 30, 2012 at 1:53 AM

    lob city trick!

  9. asublimeday - Apr 30, 2012 at 2:21 AM

    Look on the bright side, Memphis. At least your superstar, the best player at his position in the game today, didn’t tear his acl in garbage time.

  10. lmvs2012 - Apr 30, 2012 at 3:42 AM

    World record comeback!…jesus MEMPHIS!

  11. zillabeast - Apr 30, 2012 at 3:49 AM

    Mother of God.

  12. marlin1894 - Apr 30, 2012 at 6:19 AM

    Reggie Evans is a monster. I couldn’t help to be happy for Blake Griffin, that dude was thrilled. Good job Clips, we fans have a great series to look forward to.

    • therealroman - Apr 30, 2012 at 10:18 AM

      Griffin’s got so much heart in him i don’t understand how people can hate on this inhuman athlete who’s just playing all out every night. same for evans he’s a beast for sure

  13. loungefly74 - Apr 30, 2012 at 8:42 AM

    wow…i’m just now hearing /reading about the clip’s comeback. huh, the bus driver (yeah, i ride the bus to work) asked me who won, i said the griz. i turned the game off when they were up by 20 in the 4th. we both started to talk trash on the clips how they are too young, etc…i bet he is gonna be just as surprised when he finds out. unbelievable!

  14. omniusprime - Apr 30, 2012 at 9:06 AM

    Zach should have saved his useless push hypos for after the game. Way too funny how the Grizzlies allowed the Clippers to make such a momentous comeback. Good show Clippers!

  15. mat9844 - Apr 30, 2012 at 9:42 AM

    OMG!!! CLIPPERS WIN!!! Are we good or what?????? Gotta love playoff basketball!!

    • iknowzeroaboutsports - Apr 30, 2012 at 11:07 AM

      Awesome. First time I’ve heard “we” from a Clipper fan. Fans usually says “we” when a team wins and “they” when they lose.

  16. pistolpete0903 - Apr 30, 2012 at 9:46 AM

    This and the OKC-Mavs series were supposed to be close. Looks like they are living up to it’s billing.

  17. 16x8equal49ers - Apr 30, 2012 at 9:58 AM

    Man I stopped watching the game because it was so one sided. I think that was a fluke though, LAC just don’t have enough sustainable defense.

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