It was a frantic finish and the Clippers did all they could to lose in the final seconds, but somehow the Clippers took a 2-1 lead after Game 3. Rudy Gay hit two deep desperation threes with a minute to go to bring the Grizzlies back in it, but missed a difficult game winning attempt as time expired.
Chris Paul was the difference between the two clubs, spending more time than usual looking for his own shot on a night when no one else could really get it going offensively. Griffin looked out of sorts as he has the whole series against the big Memphis front court, but fought hard and ended up scoring 17 points while helping put fouls on the opposing front line.
Both clubs had big men who toiled in obscurity tonight. Marc Gasol was dominant at times; while he didn’t make much of an impact with the scorers, his basketball IQ was important in the final quarter as he helped set screens and keep the ball alive, all while managing to not foul while at the brink with 5. For the Clippers, Reggie Evans once again made his impact felt in the Playoffs with 11 rebounds (3 offensive) and some strong defensive work.
The keys for the next game will be for Chris Paul to help someone else get going offensively. It appears that the Grizzlies have Griffin’s number, but if Randy Foye or Nick Young can step up and provide a consistent second option from deep, it may help to free up the very clogged interior for Griffin.
Game 4 is again in Los Angeles in two days as the Grizzlies try to ponder how they let this one get away from them.