Archive for the ‘ Memphis Grizzlies Blog ’ Category

Future of Lionel Hollins in Memphis uncertain

After the Memphis Grizzlies’ season ended Monday in a sweep from the Western Conference finals by the San Antonio Spurs, the team’s biggest free agent this summer could be coach Lionel Hollins.

Hollins’ contract with the Grizzlies ends on June 30, and the Los Angeles Clippers, Brooklyn Nets and Milwaukee Bucks are expected to ask for permission to speak to him about their coaching openings, league sources told Yahoo! Sports. Hollins’ wish is to stay put in Memphis.

“I hope things get worked out quickly. I love our team and the possibilities,” Hollins texted Yahoo! Sports after the Grizzlies’ 93-86 Game 4 loss to the Spurs.

Hollins made $2.3 million this season in the last year of his contract, a source said. While the Grizzlies have interest in retaining Hollins, a contract extension has yet to be offered to him.

The Grizzlies have increased their winning percentage every season since Hollins was hired Jan. 25, 2009. He led the Grizzlies to their best record in franchise history (56-26) this season and first trip to the West finals, despite the midseason trade of Rudy Gay. The Grizzlies also have a new owner in Robert Pera.

Reported by Marc. J. Spears of Yahoo Sports

San Antonio Spurs reach NBA Finals

Tony Parker

The San Antonio Spurs are back in the NBA Finals for the first time since they won their last championship back in 2007.

Tony Parker scored 37 points in his best game this postseason, and the San Antonio Spurs finished off a sweep Monday night of the Memphis Grizzlies with a 93-86 win on Monday night in the Western Conference final.

The Spurs now have won six straight in these playoffs, handing two straight losses to a team that had been undefeated on their own court in their best postseason in franchise history. Memphis finished off its best season ever swept by the very same franchise that needed four games to knock them out of their first playoff appearance back in 2004.

Parker had his best game this postseason as he hit 15 of 21 and all six at the free throw line earning the Spurs and Tim Duncan plenty of rest before Game 1 of the Finals on June 6.

”He’s been amazing,” Duncan said of Parker. ”Every year he gets better and better and better. He’s been carrying us. You can see tonight he carried us the entire game.”

Duncan hugged Manu Ginobili before heading off the court, celebrating the chance at a title that slipped away a year ago when the Spurs blew a 2-0 lead to Oklahoma City losing four straight. The 37-year-old Duncan finished with 15 points and eight rebounds. Kawhi Leonard added 11…

The Spurs shot 51.3 percent (39 of 76) from the floor and outscored Memphis 52-32 in the paint, even though the Grizzlies had a 41-34 edge on the boards. Memphis led only briefly and the last at 6-4 as the Spurs took control early.

Memphis stayed close only by getting to the free throw line, making more shots there (17 of 24) than San Antonio took (12 of 13). The Grizzlies also got a career-high 22 points from reserve Quincy Pondexter, 18 of those in the second half. Pondexter was the only player from Memphis to shoot over .500. Zach Randolph finished with 13, continuing his struggles at the line where he was 5 of 8, and Marc Gasol had 14.

Reported by Teresa M. Walker of the Associated Press

Lionel Hollins is no fan of flopping

Lionel Hollins is no fan of flopping

In response to the NBA’s $5,000 flopping fine on Grizzlies guard Tony Allen after Game 2 of the Western Conference finals, Memphis coach Lionel Hollins conceded the league’s anti-flopping rules were appropriate and could possibly be enforced more widely.

“Flopping isn’t a part of the game and it shouldn’t be a part of the game,” Hollins said. “That’s why we have rules in place. There are probably a few more that could be called on a lot of people still in it.”

The NBA instituted new rules to deter flopping prior to this postseason. A violator will be fined $5,000 after the first infraction, $10,000 after the second, $15,000 after the third and $30,000 after his fourth flopping offense. Any subsequent violations are subject to league discipline. Allen was the fourth player to be issued a fine for flopping during this year’s playoffs.

Derek Fisher of the Oklahoma City Thunder, Jeff Pendergraph of the Indiana Pacers and J.R. Smith of the New York Knicks were each assessed a $5,000 fine.

Reported by Kevin Arnovitz of ESPN.com

Spurs vs Grizzlies Game 3 recap

Tim Duncan

Tim Duncan scored the first five points of overtime, and the San Antonio Spurs rallied from an 18-point deficit to beat the Memphis Grizzlies 104-93 Saturday night and move a win away from the NBA Finals.

The Spurs grabbed a 3-0 lead in the Western Conference finals and now have won five straight this postseason. With the memory of blowing a 2-0 lead a year ago in the West finals to Oklahoma City, when they lost the next four, the Spurs shook off their sloppy play early and pushed the young Grizzlies to the edge of elimination in the first West final played in Memphis.

San Antonio, which didn’t lead this game until the opening minute of the fourth quarter, can wrap up the series Monday in Memphis and get back to the finals for the first time since their last title in 2007.

The Spurs hit eight of their 10 shots in overtime, with Duncan scoring seven of his 24 points. Tony Parker had five of his 26 in overtime, and even Tiago Splitter playing with four fouls, scored six in the extra five minutes to finish with 11.

mike conley

Mike Conley led Memphis with 20 points. Marc Gasol had 16 points and 14 rebounds, Zach Randolph added 14 and 15, and Quincy Pondexter had 15 points. But the Grizzlies, who thrived at the free throw line in knocking off No. 1 seed Oklahoma City in the semifinals, got there only 18 times and made only 10.

The Grizzlies last led 85-84 with 1:04 left in regulation on a 15-footer by Gasol. After that, they managed only to tie it up twice, the last on a layup by Randolph with 4:28 left in overtime. Duncan scored and knocked down the free throw with 4:10 remaining to put the Spurs ahead to stay.

Reported by Teresa M. Walker of the Associated Press

Spurs vs Grizzlies Game 3 preview

San Antonio Spurs at Memphis Grizzlies Game 3 is Saturday night at 9 p.m. ET.

Spurs vs Grizzlies Game 3 preview

The AP reports: The towels are showing up all around Memphis. They hang over neighborhood signs and even at a door to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. The sentiment? Believe Memphis. The Grizzlies certainly do. Yes, they are down 0-2 to San Antonio in their first Western Conference final, but they take heart in knowing they dug themselves out of an 0-2 hole in the first round against the Clippers. No NBA team has won separate series in the same postseason after losing the first two games. The Grizzlies now see only opportunity at home, where they have yet to lose this postseason. ”We got to believe,” Grizzlies forward Zach Randolph said. ”We got to be confident. We got to believe. Game 2 went down, we came all the way back and went to overtime, so we got to have that confidence and we got to believe in ourselves.”

The AP reports: ”We’re down 0-2 and we’ve got to take care of home just like they took care of home,” Grizzlies guard Tony Allen said Friday. ”Simple as that.” The Grizzlies’ confidence also stems from a return to the arena they call the ”Grindhouse.” They set a franchise record winning 32 games there this season, and they are 19-1 here since Feb. 8. Memphis also has lost three straight only twice this season, the last in mid-January. This series took a three-day break after the Spurs won 93-89 in overtime Tuesday night in Game 2. The Grizzlies took off Wednesday after flying home and practiced Thursday and Friday. The Spurs practiced Wednesday and Thursday before taking off Friday. The home team has won 17 of the last 20 games between these teams, and the Spurs lost both trips to Memphis during the regular season. With strong memories of blowing a 2-0 lead to Oklahoma City in the Western finals, the Spurs know the games in Memphis will be hard.

The AP reports: It would be tough for the Grizzlies to shoot much worse than they did in the first two games in San Antonio, including a stretch where they missed seven straight layups in one sequence. They missed 15 of 18 attempts inside 5 feet in the first half, a statistic that surprised Grizzlies guard Mike Conley because of their strength scoring in the paint.

Spurs vs Grizzlies Game 3 preview

The AP reports: The Grizzlies also want to make Spurs point guard Tony Parker work harder and spend more energy bringing the ball up the court. That also might slow Parker from getting his teammates involved, something he did all too well in Game 2 with a playoff-best 18 assists.

The San Antonio Express-News reports: For much of the season, the Grizzlies’ best offense has been to throw the ball at the rim, then let Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol score on offensive putbacks. Memphis enjoyed a 19-4 edge on the offensive glass in Game 2 but converted those second chances into only eight points. Expect that ratio to rise in Memphis, meaning the Spurs have to do a better job of limiting the Grizzlies to one shot per possession. Something akin to Game 1, when Memphis managed only 10 offensive boards, should suffice.

The San Antonio Express-News reports: A precautionary MRI to monitor the recovery of Tony Parker’s bruised left calf revealed he’s on track and, as expected, ready to play in Game 3 of the Western Conference finals on Saturday. “Everything is fine,” Parker said of the procedure, which was done before Thursday’s practice. “They still see a lot of blood but the size is going down. Like I said (Wednesday), I feel like I’m turning the corner and I feel like I’ll be fine for Saturday. “It feels better. Now, (the bruise) is like spread out. That’s why it felt like my Achilles was inflamed. Now it’s fine. Rest and treatment — ice and massaging to move all the blood out of there.”

The AP reports: Allen did not talk to reporters after Saturday’s shootaround for Game 3 against the Spurs. But Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins said whether Allen hit his head on the floor or not had nothing to do with the flagrant foul. Allen was grabbed out of the air by Spurs guard Manu Ginobili on a fast-break drive to the basket, and Hollins said it didn’t matter if Allen hit his head. ”They reviewed it, they still called it a flagrant,” Hollins said. ”Flopping is not a part of the game and shouldn’t be a part of the game. That’s why we have rules in place. There’s probably a few more that could be called on a lot of people that are still in the playoffs.”

The mayor of San Antonio says everyone knows the best barbecue and basketball comes from Texas. The mayor of Memphis notes barbecue is prized in his city, where restaurant smoke stacks rise like steeples.

So the mayors have bet barbecue on the NBA Western Conference final.

Mayor Julian Castro will pay up with barbecue from The Granary ‘Cue & Brew if the Spurs lose, while Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr. will put up the Rendezvous if the Grizzlies lose.

Reported by the Associated Press

Tony Parker

Tony Parker had 15 points and a career playoff-high 18 assists, Tim Duncan scored San Antonio’s first six points of overtime and the Spurs bounced back after squandering a 13-point lead in the fourth quarter to beat the Memphis Grizzlies 93-89 on Tuesday night.

The Spurs took a 2-0 lead in the Western Conference finals with Game 3 on Saturday in Memphis.

Duncan opened the extra period with a layup, then made a tiebreaking putback on Parker’s missed jumper before making a runner that bounced high of the back iron and rattled in for a 91-87 lead with 1:08 to play.

The Grizzlies had a chance to tie after Jerryd Bayless hit a jumper and Parker missed one of two free throws with 14.6 seconds left, but Bayless’ 3-pointer from the left wing was off-target.

Bayless and Mike Conley each had 18 points to lead Memphis.

Duncan had 17 points and nine rebounds, missing most of the second half with foul trouble before coming up with the key baskets in overtime.

Memphis stormed back from a 13-point deficit with a 15-2 run over the final 8 minutes of regulation to tie it at 85 on Conley’s runner in the lane with 18.2 seconds to play.

Reported by Jeff Latzke of the Associated Press

THE STAT: Despite the comeback, the game got away from the Grizzlies when they shot 24 percent in the second quarter and were outscored 31-18. Randolph went 0-for-7 and Tony Allen was 0-for-4. Memphis missed 14 straight shots to finish the half.

TURNING POINT: It was not enough to steal the win, but perhaps the fourth quarter has given the Grizzlies new life heading back home. Trailing 76-64, Memphis outscored San Antonio 21-9 even through the Grizzlies shot 38 percent from the floor. Memphis was down 0-2 in the first round after losing both games to open the Clippers series in L.A.

QUOTABLE II: “They ran at us. They got easy buckets, They got hot. But the second half I think we played more our basketball. We attacked, and of course everything works better when you make shots.”

Reported by Tim Price of NBA.com

zach randolph

Zach Randolph’s miserable Western Conference finals debut led to a sleepless night and a long film session.

The All-Star power forward and his Memphis Grizzlies are hardly down and out, though. In both rounds of the playoffs so far, Memphis has lost Game 1 before rallying back to knock out the Los Angeles Clippers and then the Oklahoma City Thunder.

This time, Randolph had his worst game ever in the playoffs, managing two points in a 105-83 blowout. His only lower-scoring game in 40 playoff appearances was when he played 1 minute as a rookie for Portland in a 2002 game.

“It’s more frustrating than embarrassing,” said Randolph, who missed his first seven shots in Game 1. “It’s basketball. It happens to the best of them.

“Muhammad Ali, he got knocked down before. What made him the greatest fighter in the world is he always bounced back.”

It took the Grizzlies two games to get off the mat in the first round, when they suffered a 21-point blowout at Los Angeles and then lost on a Chris Paul buzzer-beater in Game 2. Memphis then won the next four.

– Reported by Jeff Latzke of the Associated Press

Tony Parker

The San Antonio Spurs opened the Western Conference finals resembling the past champions who’ve been there so many times before.

The Memphis Grizzlies looked like the first-timers still trying to adapt to their first conference finals appearance.

Tony Parker had 20 points and nine assists, Kawhi Leonard scored 18 points and the Spurs struck first by beating Memphis 105-83 on Sunday.

San Antonio raced out to a 17-point lead in the first quarter, then came up with a response when Memphis rallied to get within six in the second half. Both teams pulled their starters with over 5 minutes left and the Spurs leading by 21…

The NBA’s stingiest defense wasn’t up to its usual standards, allowing the Spurs to hit 53 percent of their shots and a franchise postseason-record 14 3-pointers while All-Star power forward Zach Randolph struggled. Randolph had just two points, getting his only basket with 9:26 left in the game…

The four regular-season meetings were all won by the team with more points in the paint, but perimeter shooting proved to be a bigger factor in the playoff opener. Memphis, which was second in the NBA by holding opponents to 33.8 shooting on 3-pointers, let San Antonio make 13 of its first 24 from behind the arc and finish 14 of 29.

Danny Green connected three times and scored 16, and Matt Bonner hit four of his five attempts for 12 points…

Pondexter led Memphis with 17 points, Marc Gasol scored 15 and Mike Conley had 14 points and eight assists.

– Reported by Jeff Latzke of the Associated Press

Memphis’ abject lack of outside shooting (5 for 12 on 3s) killed them in two respects. One, they were outscored by 27 points from beyond the arc, easily the biggest different in the game. Two, it allowed the Spurs to basically ignore their perimeter players and collapse on the low-post tandem of Randolph and Marc Gasol.

Gasol was active early on, but he needed 16 shots to score 15 points while drawing just two free throws. Randolph barely got any touches at all, scoring his lone bucket on a tip-in while missing 7 of 8 shots. He had been averaging 19.7 points on 51.2-percent shooting in the postseason.

It’s fitting Gregg Popovich used a football metaphor to describe the Spurs’ strategy, which was basically a page taken straight from their first-round meeting with the Lakers — swarm the paint first, recover on shooters second.

“Zach and Marc are a heck of a combination, probably the best high-low combination in the league,” Popovich said. “Everything they do is really difficult to stick with, and you’ve got to have a mindset to do it on every down. You can’t be perfect at it. They’re just too good. But the effort was there for 48 minutes.”

– Reported by Dan McCarney of the San Antonio Express-News

NBA Western Conference Finals preview

Tim Duncan

It would be a mistake to view this as a direct sequel to 2011, when eighth-seeded Memphis knocked off the No. 1 Spurs in the first round to engineer one of the biggest upsets in recent NBA history.

The Grizzlies no longer have the steady, veteran hand of Shane Battier, or the wild cards that were Greivis Vasquez and O.J. Mayo. Neither are the Spurs relying on spare parts to shore up their front court around a hobbled Tim Duncan.

But with most of the main faces returning — Duncan, Zach Randolph, Marc Gasol, Tony Parker, Mike Conley, Manu Ginobili, both coaches — the tone of the matchup will remain the same: Football on hardwood.

Perhaps no team in the NBA is better at imposing their will than the Grizzlies. It is not by accident that their slogans — “Grit ‘N Grind” and “Whoop That Trick” — imply violence. The Grizzlies are tough, the Grizzlies are physical, and the Grizzlies are relentless, a perfect match with the blue-collar city they represent.

“If you thought this was physical,” Duncan said after the Spurs eliminated Golden State, “it’s going to turn up about 10 notches.”

The Spurs flinched badly under such circumstances two years ago, becoming only the fourth No. 1 seed to bow out in the first round. But after recapturing some of the defensive edge from their past championship campaigns, they can now give almost as good as they get.

– Reported by Dan McCarney of the San Antonio Express-News

marc gasol

The Miami Heat have LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. The Spurs have dominated for years with the trio of Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili.

Now the Memphis Grizzlies, who traded their leading scorer in January, have surged into their first Western Conference finals behind an unlikely Big Three of their own.

Marc Gasol still is Pau’s little brother to some. Memphis thought about trading guard Mike Conley, the son of a track star, early in his career. And Memphis is Zach Randolph’s fourth NBA team.

”Me, Marc and Zach, we all tried to take the team and put them on our back and say, ‘Hey, this is what we’re going to do. This is what we’ve got to do to be great and get to where we want to go,”’ Conley said Friday. ”We knew we had to step up, and we all did that.”

That they have.

The Grizzlies never won a playoff series with Gay on the court. When they beat the Spurs in the first round in 2011, it came with Gay sidelined by an injury.

– Reported by Teresa M. Walker of the Associated Press

zach randolph

The Grizzlies have won eight of their last nine playoffs games, and upended a pair of higher seeds along the way. They have blossomed in the NBA’s elite landscape like a weed, which is to say it’s been pretty darn difficult to get rid of a grit-and-grind team that’s bucking trends in the postseason.

The fifth-seeded Grizzlies’ path to the conference finals was rather remarkable. They lost two straight games to the fourth-place Los Angeles Clippers to start the opening round and then won four straight. Memphis dropped Game 1 against top-seeded Oklahoma City and won the next four contests to capture the West semifinals.

The Grizzlies began their playoff history in Memphis losing their first 12 games. This version of the Griz is 18-13 over the past three postseasons behind the commitment to a core group of Conley, Tony Allen, Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph.

“It’s just confidence,” Randolph said. “It just continues to build and build, and guys continue to get better and better.”

– Reported by Ronald Tillery of the Memphis Commercial Appeal

zach randolph

The Memphis Grizzlies advanced to the Western Conference finals for the first time in franchise history by beating the Oklahoma City Thunder 88-84 on Wednesday night.

Zach Randolph had 28 points and 14 rebounds, Mike Conley added 13 points and 11 assists for Memphis, the fifth seed.

Kevin Durant missed a 16-foot jumper from the left wing to tie it with 6 seconds left, finishing off a miserable shooting night for the three-time NBA scoring champion.

Durant ended up with 21 points on 5-for-21 shooting, the third-worst performance of his playoff career. The Thunder, who made it to the NBA Finals last season, were eliminated in five games. The top seed in the West went 2-6 after All-Star guard Russell Westbrook went out with a knee injury that required surgery.

Serge Ibaka had 17 points and eight rebounds before fouling out with 1:26 to play during a desperation comeback try for the Thunder.

Oklahoma City trailed by 12 with three minutes left before going on a 16-6 rally, with Reggie Jackson’s 3-pointer cutting the deficit to 86-84 with 14.3 seconds remaining.

Randolph missed both free throws with 11.3 seconds on the clock to give the Thunder one last chance to save their season. Durant got the ball beyond the 3-point line on the left wing and navigated around Tony Allen before missing the jumper.

Allen then made two free throws to close it out.

– Reported by Jeff Latzke of the Associated Press

Tony Allen

The Grizzlies are proving they know how to grab an advantage and hold onto it this postseason.

Tony Allen scored on a driving layup to open overtime and the Grizzlies held off the Oklahoma City Thunder 103-97 Monday night to push the defending Western Conference champions to the edge of elimination.

The Grizzlies shook off a first half in which they couldn’t hit shots and the Thunder seemingly couldn’t miss in building their largest lead in this series at 17 points. But the Grizzlies have yet to lose on their home court this postseason, and they won their third straight and seventh in eight games to grab a 3-1 lead in the series…

Kevin Durant scored 27 points but missed all five of his shots in the extra period, including a layup in the final seconds. Durant went 2 of 13 in the fourth quarter and overtime and had only five points. The All Star played 48 minutes and was just short on his shots as the game wore on.

Durant got the help from his teammates that he had been needing. Kevin Martin scored 18 points, Serge Ibaka had his best game of the series with 17 points and 14 rebounds, and Reggie Jackson had 15. Nick Collison even added 10.

Mike Conley led Memphis with 24 points and Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph each had double-doubles. Randolph had 23 and 12, while Gasol had 23 and 11 along with six blocks on the day the Defensive Player of Year was named to the NBA’s second All-Defensive team along with Conley, who had four steals.

Allen, who finished with 10 points, had three steals on the day he edged LeBron James for most points for the NBA’s All-Defensive team.

– Reported by Teresa M. Walker of the Associated Press

Grizzlies beat Thunder 87-81 in Game 3

marc gasol

The Memphis Grizzlies call it grit and grind, and it got them through another ugly game.

Marc Gasol scored 20 points and hit two free throws with 1:03 left to put Memphis ahead to stay, and the Grizzlies held off Oklahoma City 87-81 Saturday to take a 2-1 lead in this Western Conference semifinal.

Gasol scored 16 in the second half as Memphis remained unbeaten at home in the postseason.

The Grizzlies pulled out the win in a choppy performance for both teams following a three-day layoff since Game 2 with the Thunder beating them at their own game, dominating the boards and in the paint. After struggling at the free throw line in Oklahoma City, the Grizzlies hit all six at the line in the final 1:03 to clinch it.

”We just stayed after it like we’ve done all year long,” Memphis coach Lionel Hollins said. ”It’s not always pretty. Tonight wasn’t pretty, but it was pretty for us because we got the win.”

Game 4 is Monday night in Memphis, and Hollins wants one more home win for a franchise in its second Western semifinal in two seasons. The Grizzlies lost to Oklahoma City in seven games in 2011 after splitting Games 3 and 4 in Memphis. But they are 18-1 at home since Feb. 8.

”I’d rather take my chances with where we’re sitting now and try to win all of our home games,” Hollins said. ”We got a long way to go, and we got to keep battling.”

Kevin Durant scored 25 points, but only two in the fourth quarter. A 91 percent free throw shooter in the regular season, Durant missed two with 39.3 seconds left. Durant also had 11 rebounds and five assists.

– Reported by Teresa M. Walker of the Associated Press

Lionel Hollins hopes Grizzlies keep him after this season

Memphis Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins has no contractual obligation to the franchise beyond this season, but he is hopeful he’ll get to keep coaching what he’s helped build in Memphis.

“There’s no question,” Hollins told ESPN, when asked if he hoped to be back with the Grizzlies after the season. “When you build something, you want to see it through to the fruition of it all.

“Hopefully, we’ll win a championship at the end of the year. But that would just be a starting point. Then you want to be a perennial championship contender.”

Hollins said his contract situation hasn’t bothered him all season, and won’t be a distraction to him or his team going forward. He’s focused on the playoffs and nothing else right now as the Grizzlies prepare for Game 3 of their Western Conference semifinal series against Oklahoma City.

– Reported by Ramona Shelburne of ESPN Los Angeles

kevin durant

Kevin Durant scored 35 points and hit a pair of jumpers in the final minute to lift the Oklahoma City Thunder to a 93-91 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies on Sunday in Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals.

Derek Fisher poked the ball away from Mike Conley to spring Durant the other way, and he pulled up to make a shot with 11.1 seconds left that put Oklahoma City up 91-90.

Quincy Pondexter had a chance to send the game to overtime when he was fouled attempting a 3-pointer with Memphis trailing 93-90 and 1.6 seconds remaining. But he missed the first free throw.

On the Grizzlies’ previous possession, Thabo Sefolosha deflected an inbounds pass, and Conley landed out of bounds while diving for the ball. Reggie Jackson then hit two free throws to make the lead three.

But Jackson hacked Pondexter on his right arm before he released a 3-pointer from the left wing in an attempt to tie it. Pondexter, a 72 percent career free-throw shooter, made his second attempt before purposefully missing the third, but Durant swatted the rebound away and Marc Gasol’s attempt at a buzzer-beater was late.

The Grizzlies got 20 points and 10 rebounds from Gasol and 18 points and 10 rebounds from Zach Randolph. Pondexter and Conley scored 13 apiece.

Kevin Martin scored 25 for Oklahoma City, which trailed for much of the game but was able to avoid repeating its Game 1 loss from when these two teams met in the West semifinals two years ago.

– Reported by Jeff Latzke of the Associated Press

mike conley

The Grizzlies won an old-time Memphis wrestling match Friday night, and now they’re headed back to the Western Conference semifinals for the second time in three seasons after getting the final takedown.

Mike Conley and Zach Randolph scored 23 points each, and the Grizzlies beat the Los Angeles Clippers 118-105 on Friday night to take the first-round series 4-2.

The Grizzlies had never won four straight postseason games before this series, and they became only the 10th team in NBA history to win four straight after trailing 0-2. They will open the second round at Oklahoma City on Sunday in a rematch of the franchise’s only other Western semifinal that the Thunder won in seven in 2011.

Memphis finished with seven players in double figures. Tony Allen had a postseason-best 19 points, and Jerryd Bayless had 16.

Reserve Matt Barnes scored a career playoff-best 30 points for Los Angeles. Chris Paul had 28 points before being ejected with 2:29 left for crashing into Marc Gasol off a missed free throw, though he shook hands with several Grizzlies before going to the locker room. Blake Griffin didn’t start because of his sprained right ankle, and he scored nine points in 13:56. Caron Butler added 14…

Having the commissioner on hand didn’t slow anyone down in a game featuring lots of headlocks and knockdowns with the only thing missing a steel cage as they combined for seven technicals. Even Grant Hill had three fouls in 3 minutes himself in the first half, and Chauncey Billups got a flagrant-1.

Randolph was ejected, too, with 1:57 remaining. He tossed his headband toward the stands and celebrated as he walked to the locker room…

Los Angeles led only once - at 45-44 on Barnes’ fourth 3-pointer with 5:08 left in the second quarter. The teams had four more ties before Quincy Pondexter hit a 3 with 2:02 left putting the Grizzlies ahead to stay at 54-51.

– Reported by the Associated Press

zach randolph

Zach Randolph’s fast start helped the Memphis Grizzlies return to their inside dominance.

Randolph had 13 of his 27 points in the first quarter, and he finished with 11 rebounds and the Grizzlies beat the Los Angeles Clippers 94-82 on Thursday night to pull within 2-1 in this first-round series.

”Zach was huge,” Memphis coach Lionel Hollins said. ”He got started quickly. He had 18 at halftime, and that got us going and everyone else just flowed into that. I thought our defense, for the most part, was solid.”

Randolph hadn’t scored more than 13 in each of the first two games and had only 12 rebounds combined in Los Angeles. He looked much more like the All Star who had 45 double-doubles this season, and he also had six offensive rebounds after leading the NBA with 310 in the regular season…

Marc Gasol accepted his trophy as the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year before tipoff, then scored 16 points. Quincy Pondexter and Tony Allen had 13 each. Mike Conley was 1 of 9 but had 10 assists and no turnovers on a night where he was so sick he sipped on soda and didn’t talk much…

Blake Griffin scored 16 points for the Clippers. Matt Barnes had 12, Chauncey Billups 11 and Jamal Crawford and Caron Butler 10. Chris Paul had eight points on 4-of-11 shooting and added six assists…

Memphis outrebounded the Clippers 45-33, including 17-5 on the offensive boards. That gave the Grizzlies a 22-4 edge in second-chance points, which was similar to what the Clippers did to Memphis in Game 1 when they held a 25-5 advantage. The Grizzlies also outscored Los Angeles 40-26 in the paint and led by as much as 16.

– Reported by Teresa M. Walker of the Associated Press

The first game was a blowout and the second was a buzzer-beater, but both were wins for the Clippers and that means they hold a 2-0 advantage over the Memphis Grizzlies in the first round of the Western Conference NBA playoffs.

It’s a good omen for the Clippers, who have been up, 2-0, in a playoff series only one other time in franchise history. That time, in 2006, they went on to defeat the Denver nuggets, four games to one. It also holds an historical advantage as only 15 times in NBA playoff history has a team lost a series after winning the first two. 

Those things mean little to the Clippers, however. Nobody in their locker room was satisfied after Chris Paul’s buzzer-beating bank shot gave the Clippers a 93-91 victory in Game 2 at Staples Center. 

“All we did was protect our home court,” Vinny Del Negro said. “You have to win four games. We did what we were supposed to do. We know we’re going to have to play better in Memphis.” 

It would be difficult to play better than Paul did down the stretch. He scored 19 of his 24 points in the second half and was the only Clippers’ player to score in the final 3:46 of the game. But the Clippers held a 12-point lead with just under 10 minutes to play and let the Grizzlies get back in to tie the game. They were able to get away with that at home, but trying that on the road would be playing with fire. 

– Reported by Peter Yoon of ESPN Los Angeles

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