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Grizzlies advance to the second round with Game 6 win over Clippers

May 4, 2013, 1:36 AM EDT

Memphis Grizzlies guard Allen and Memphis Grizzlies forward Randolph celebrate during the second half of NBA basketball action in Memphis Reuters

It was more of exactly what we’ve seen over the last three games of this series between the Grizzlies and the Clippers in Game 6, and that meant the end of the season for Los Angeles.

The particulars changed slightly, but the level of confidence from Memphis and disarray from the Clippers remained constant. The Grizzlies advanced to the second round of the playoffs with a 118-105 victory that was every bit as comfortable for much of the second half as the final score would indicate.

Blake Griffin didn’t start for the Clippers, and was limited to just 14 minutes of action off the bench. The sprained ankle that he suffered in advance of Game 5 was still too swollen for him to be able to be as productive as was needed in an elimination game on the road, and the word was that the severity of the injury would have sidelined him for three weeks had it occurred during the regular season.

With Griffin sidelined, that left Vinny Del Negro, in what may very well have been his final game roaming the Clippers’ sidelines, scrambling with his lineups. One of Del Negro’s biggest criticisms has always been his inability to manage minutes and player rotations for maximum effectiveness, and in a move of desperation, played Eric Bledsoe less than 10 minutes and Jamal Crawford just 12 in favor of Grant Hill and Willie Green, who had barely seen the court at all previously in the series.

Del Negro repeatedly said afterward that he was trying to go small to get an advantage, but it was the Grizzlies’ guards — not Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol — who did the bulk of the damage offensively. Mike Conley and Tony Allen finished with 23 and 19 points respectively, and combined for more free throw attempts between the two of them (28) than the Clippers had as a team (24) for the entire game.

The referees called this one tightly throughout, and Memphis tallied 20 free throw attempts in the first quarter alone on their way to a 47-24 advantage. This wasn’t a one-game problem for the Clippers, however, as they’ve been whistled heavily for personal fouls, far above their season average, over the course of this series. Veteran official Joey Crawford played fast and loose with both the technical fouls and the flagrant calls in this one, and actually ejected both Chris Paul and Zach Randolph in the game’s final few minutes for seemingly innocuous actions in completely separate incidents.

The Grizzlies move on to face the Thunder in the second round of the playoffs, and that series begins in Oklahoma City on Sunday.

As for the Clippers, things are much more complicated — Paul becomes an unrestricted free agent this summer, and Del Negro is not under contract for next season.

  1. baymac408 - May 4, 2013 at 3:28 AM

    (Yeah back on topic because the guy from bay wants to beat me up) your pick of Grizz in 6 is wrong!

    • Foul Dwimmerlaik - May 4, 2013 at 3:36 AM

      Look baymac, this Warrior team of yours is really awesome and refreshing. Fact of the matter is, I want them to win the second-round. But this Memphis team is a seasoned playoff team. I see experience coming off on this one.

      I just hope that the Warriors retain their core and their coach. Jackson did a good job in honing their potentials. I see this team on the rise just like the Thunder when they were just starting.

      • Foul Dwimmerlaik - May 6, 2013 at 2:01 AM

        My apologies, baymac. I forgot that the Warriors are facing the Spurs and not the Grizzlies. My bad. That being said, I think the Spurs will take this series in 5. With experience and consistency being the reason.

    • spthegr8 - May 4, 2013 at 11:56 AM

      Do you think your a tough guy or something??? Hate to BURST your bubble buuuuut YOUR NOT!!!

      • Foul Dwimmerlaik - May 4, 2013 at 12:24 PM

        The little runt is acting like they won the O’Brien already! LOL! It’s JUST the FIRST freaking round!!! LMAO!

        I guess being out of the playoffs for a long time does that to you. *snicker*

      • spthegr8 - May 4, 2013 at 1:15 PM

        You gotta excuse the little fella. He just finished watching Like Mike and he thinks Calvin Cambridge ( who is really lil Bow Wow ) is the BEST player in the league!!! LMAO!!!! He won’t respond too this for a while cuz it’s prob nap time!!

  2. jedifriedchicken - May 4, 2013 at 3:54 AM

    Well, as I predicted, the Clippers fell on their face again. I think they made a mistake not replacing their coach after the NBA gave them Chris Paul. I also think it was a mistake letting their GM go after he made the team what it is today, though it’s nice to know the Blazers are making him feel appreciated.

    As a Laker fan, I’d love to see a great rivalry between the Lakers and Clippers, although, I will admit, that I find it annoying when Clipper fans start talking championships, dynasties, and that they’re now the top dogs in LA without ever winning anything. At least this year they finally one a division championship. Hopefully, the Lakers will be back on top by 2014, and the Clippers continue to mature, and maybe we’ll see that chippy rivalry.

    Koodoes to the Warriors. Curry’s a beast. Enjoy the moment.

    • money2long - May 4, 2013 at 12:30 PM

      i was reminded that cp3 has the same playoff demons as melo, where exiting the 1st round meant going home and not advancing.

      • jedifriedchicken - May 4, 2013 at 7:06 PM

        What, that neither’s won a championship? I can’t think of any other way they’re related. I’d take Paul over Anthony in a heartbeat, talent-wise and demeanor-wise.

  3. jacksonkane - May 4, 2013 at 3:59 AM

    You have to fire Vinny Del Negro. The Clippers are far too talented to lose this series, even with the Griffin injury. Time to upgrade!

  4. memphistigers311 - May 4, 2013 at 4:04 AM

    Far too talented? How about the Grizzlies were just far too good. They beat their a$$ the last 4 games of the series. Grizzlies and Memphis don’t bluff :)

  5. mungman69 - May 4, 2013 at 4:39 AM

    Joey Crawford is a joke. David Stern should bench this guy.

  6. onbucky96 - May 4, 2013 at 6:55 AM

    Jerry Crawford had a big nite. Look at me, I’m on TV! I’m a star! On behalf of us that barely follow the NBA, who the hell do you think you are? One of the worst look at me officials in all of sports.

  7. ranoversquarells - May 4, 2013 at 7:51 AM

    @All – Rable, rable, rable …

  8. omniusprime - May 4, 2013 at 8:48 AM

    Ha Ha LA’s other team is just a false alarm. Ha Ha Lakers will always rule LA! Say hello Chris Paul to the Lakers, if that jerk Stern doesn’t block it again. CP3 would be the perfect replacement for Trash Nash and Steve Flake.

  9. fearthehoody - May 4, 2013 at 8:48 AM

    its the nba, America’s 5th favorite sport so who cares?

    • manchestermiracle - May 4, 2013 at 11:02 AM

      Says the closet tough guy after caring enough to click on the story so he can claim he doesn’t care. After mangling facts about the popularity of sports in the U.S.

      Various specifications alter rankings, but the NBA is usually in the second or third spot. It took me all of about two minutes to Google “most popular sports in U.S.” in order to debunk your asinine claim.

    • eventhorizon04 - May 4, 2013 at 12:26 PM

      How sad does your life have to be for you to visit a basketball blog just to comment that you don’t care about basketball?

  10. addict2sport - May 4, 2013 at 10:16 AM

    At least you Clipper Bandwagoneers can look forward to seeing them hang their Pacific Division championship banner. You’ll also have bragging right of having the only PD banner in Staples, being that the Lakers only hang World Championship banners, To you real Clipper fans, the 45-60 of you that can name more than three players from the 90’s and know they once played in San Diego, congrats on your best season ever. Too bad it ended in the same round as what was arguably the Lakers’ worst season ever.

  11. jessethegreat - May 4, 2013 at 10:26 AM

    Good riddance Flake and company!

  12. kerbyjr1 - May 4, 2013 at 12:37 PM

    Rudy who all this so call pros

  13. rdav29 - May 4, 2013 at 1:53 PM

    Where’s Cliff Paul, State Farm Agent, when you need him?

  14. loungefly74 - May 4, 2013 at 3:51 PM

    for a team that had a lot of well-deserved hype…they lasted 5 more calendar days than the Lakers…try again, ClipShow…

    • sdlakerfan - May 4, 2013 at 7:34 PM

      Agree – what really bugged me about this season was how eager the clipper fans were to piss all over the lakers this yr. Definite off yr for the lakers but both got knocked out in the first round. For all the “best team la” talk, they turned out to be a tiny bit better…bfd.

  15. mcsuave - May 5, 2013 at 7:51 AM

    Can’t blame DelNegro. Memphis plays like a hockey team. Clippers can’t win without a mediocre 2 way big man. D. Jordan only good in transition. Clippers are always playing 4 against 5 with Jordan in lineup. (and he can’t shoot free throws)

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