I was too despondent after staying up late* Friday to write a post Saturday about the Memphis victory in game six over Los Angeles. In the preseason, I picked the Clippers to reach the NBA Finals; at the start of the postseason, I downshifted and pegged the Paper Clips for the Western Conference Finals. After the Knicks, the team I was rooting for most in this postseason was Chris Paul’s team.
After the Clippers took a 3-1 series lead, it seemed in the bag. Two games later – they led by eight in the 4th quarter at home and still lost – they seem like an extreme longshot to upset the Grizzlies on the road and advance to play the Spurs.
This isn’t playing the injury card, but clearly, Chris Paul (groin) and Blake Griffin (knee) were not 100 percent in game six. If not for enormous bench production from Eric Bledsoe (14 points, six assists), Reggie Evans (10 rebounds) and Kenyon Martin (10 points), the Clippers would have lost by much more than 90-88. How off was Paul? He recorded series-lows in minutes (34), shots (9) and points (11). After picking up just one foul in games four and five, CP3 fouled out of game six. I don’t think the Clippers have any chance in Memphis – the 1 pm start time sure won’t help matters – but if Paul isn’t 100 percent, the game will be over by halftime.
I hate that Lionel Hollins discovered Marc Gasol in the last few days. Pau’s brother has scored 23 points in each of the last two games (17-of-30 shooting). Zach Randolph has been nearly as beastly in the last two Memphis wins – 37 points, 26 rebounds.
What are you thinking, Memphis 102, LA Clippers 84? If Marc Davis is calling the game, give Memphis another dozen points.
* My average Friday bedtime the last six weeks has probably been 9:45. The tank is just empty by week’s end.