With their backs to the wall, the Memphis Grizzlies played the exact game they needed to play to beat the Clippers, and now find themselves one road win away from a Game 7 on their home floor, where they were 26-7 in the regular season and are now 2-1 in the playoffs.
The Grizzlies pounded the Clippers inside early and often — they jumped out to a 36-22 lead after the 1st quarter of play, and outscored Los Angeles in the paint 48-26 thanks to some stellar play from Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph, who finally got the touches they needed against the Clippers’ defense.
Defensively, Memphis was locked in, and forced 13 Clipper turnovers while only allowing 11 assisted baskets. Blake Griffin, Reggie Evans, DeAndre Jordan, and Kenyon Martin combined to score just 2o total points on Wednesday night, and 16 of those points came from Griffin. To put things bluntly, the Grizzlies are far more capable of flat-out beating the Clippers than the Clippers are of outclassing the Grizzlies, and that’s what we saw in Game 5. Memphis led by double digits almost the entire game, and while they had a late scare when their offense stalled in the fourth quarter, their defense was good enough to keep them out of serious danger and keep their season alive.
The worst news of the night for Clippers fans is that Chris Paul seems to have re-aggravated his nagging groin injury, and it clearly limited him late in Game 5. Paul was grabbing his groin every few seconds, and he wasn’t on the court to finish the game. If Paul isn’t 100% for Game 6, the Clippers are in big, big, big trouble, and could well end up doing in the series what the Grizzlies did in Game 1 — snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Russell Westbrook had his seventh consecutive triple-double Friday night in the Oklahoma City Thunder’s game against the Houston Rockets, the longest streak since Michael Jordan had seven straight in 1989.
Westbrook got his 10th rebound with 7:46 left in the fourth quarter. He already had 16 points and 10 assists. Westbrook finished with 27 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists.
The Thunder won the first six games during his streak, however they fell to James Harden and the Rockets 102-99. Harden was one rebound short of his own triple-double.
It was Westbrook’s 12th triple-double of the season and the 49th of his career. He is the NBA’s active leader in the category and ranks overall.
Jordan’s streak came during a run of 10 triple-doubles in 11 games.
NEW YORK (AP) — The NBA has denied the Toronto Raptors’ protest of their 102-99 loss to the Sacramento Kings on Nov. 20.
The league announced the decision Friday.
Toronto argued that the game officials incorrectly called for an instant replay review of whether the Raptors’ Terrence Ross released a 3-point shot prior to the expiration of actual time remaining.
The Replay Center official reviewed video of the play using a digital timer and determined the actual time remaining in the game expired before Ross released his shot, and the shot therefore did not count.
The league found that calling for an instant replay review in this case was consistent with the playing rules because the game officials determined that there was a clock malfunction.
Nobody can stop the Zeller brothers!
Well, that’s not exactly true. But in this case, Bismack Biyombo tried and Cody Zeller threw it down with authority over him.
I’m not starting a “Cody Zeller for the dunk contest” campaign, but this was impressive.
Pop quiz: Which team complains the most to the referees in the NBA?
You probably answered “the Clippers.” Most fans do. So do most NBA referees — And everyone else. Which is why after a recent loss to Golden State, veteran Marreese Speight (a Warrior last season) pointed to the Clippers complaining about the officiating as part of the problem.
He went on to say that the scouting report is you can get in the Clippers’ heads by knocking them around a little. Which seems pretty obvious when you watch teams play them. Shockingly, Clippers coach Doc Rivers disagrees with that. Via NBCLosAngeles.com.
“The officiating thing, I don’t think, is our issue. I will say that,” said Rivers about the technical fouls. “If that were the problem, then, Golden State would be struggling. They’ve been No. 2 the last two years in techs, too. I think we need to point fingers in another direction than that.”
Doc may not like it, but Speights is right.
The Warriors do complain too much, but they also have a ring so more is forgiven. The problem for the Clippers is that reputation for complaining starts with Rivers — he complains as much or more than any coach in the league. Then it filters down through Chris Paul and Blake Griffin.
Is it fair that more is forgiven with winning? Moot question. Welcome to America. The Clippers complain a lot and have yet to get past the second round with this core. And at times there standing there complaining to the referees does get in the way of them getting back into defense, and they seem to go in a funk.
Want to prove all that wrong? Win. In the playoffs.