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Wednesday, May 1st, 2013 at 9:08 am  |  25 responses

Post Up: On the Brink

The Grizzlies are one win away from ending the Clippers’ season for good.

Grizzlies 103, Clippers 93 (Grizzlies lead series 3-2)

No adjustments necessary for the Grizzles—just stay the course. Keep feeding the post, playing tough defense and spreading the love. Nothing to see here, other than three straight wins over the Clips. This one was spectacular for Memphis, being that it came on the road at Staples Center where they struggled during the first two games of the series. Memphis leaned on the dominant post play of Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol in Game 5, the posts combining for 46 points and 19 rebounds in the 103-93 win.

With Blake Griffin hobbled by an ankle sprain sustained during practice on Monday, the Clippers offense struggled under the stifling Memphis D. Chris Paul tried to put LA on his back, finishing with 35 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists.“We have to play with desperation,” he said. “They say the Playoffs don’t start until somebody loses at home—I guess now it’s started, we lost here at home,” he continued. “We tried to come out with some energy and they just beat us up again. Me as a point guard, I gotta find a way to get everybody involved.”

Griffin fought through the pain early but the ankle clearly disrupted his play on both ends. Gasol hit him with a nasty spin move in the first half for a three point play and midway through the third, Griffin was out of the game for good, finishing with 4 points and 5 rebounds in 20 minutes of action.  “I’ve just tried to slow him down, Blake is an all star player,” Randolph said.  “I’ve tried to front him, not let him get the ball and push him out far, to his left. We’re just playing together and playing team basketball.”

Chauncey Billups, DeAndre Jordan, Caron Butler and Griffin combined for 18 points while Jamal Crawford added 15 points off the bench. LA had decent bench contributions from Eric Bledsoe, Lamar Odom and Matt Barnes but without Griffin’s firepower, they didn’t stand a chance. “It’s tough but I think L.O. did a great job stepping in that spot,” Paul said of replacing Griffin. “It’s going to be by committee—you can’t just replace Blake Griffin with one person. We need to see if we can get Marc Gasol out the lane—every time we come down he’s standing in the lane.”

Memphis continued to control tempo for the third straight game—each time the Clippers chipped away at their second half lead, they answered. Up 71-65 with seconds remaining in the third quarter, Jerryd Bayless managed to go coast to coast for a layup at the buzzer to keep the momentum in place. Late in the fourth with 1:30 remaining, LA cut the Memphis lead to five points before Tayshaun Prince knocked down an open three pointer for the ultimate dagger. At the post game presser, a spectacled Randolph was not in the mood for celebration. “We haven’t done anything yet,” he said. “We still need to come in on Friday and focus and try to finish our business.”

Paul was upbeat and to the point during his press conference and did not hesitate when asked if the series will make it back to LA. “No question, I’m in the wrong profession if I think otherwise,” he said. “We have to win there—we’ve shown the ability to do that before.” —Nima Zarrabi / @NZbeFree

Nuggets 107, Warriors 100 (Warriors lead series 3-2)

On one hand, this was to be expected. The Golden State Warriors had just pulled off a three-game stretch where they shot 57.6 percent from the field while winning three straight from the higher-seeded Denver Nuggets. On the other hand, this could not be assumed. After a Game 1 win that needed heroics from the AARP-card carrying member Andre Miller, George Karl’s squad looked like a defeated bunch leaving Oracle Arena on Sunday. Would this be it for the team that produced the greatest NBA regular season record in franchise history?

Nope, there’s still a heartbeat afterall.

Last night, the Nuggets looked like the Nuggets we’d all grew to love during the course of the 2012-13 NBA season. Miller and Ty Lawson operated as the yin and yang of floor generals, Andre Iguodala and Wilson Chandler manned the wings and rained much-needed threes, and JaVale McGee and Kenneth Faried were both active on the glass and in defending the rim. The Nuggs looked confident—maybe even boosted by their home crowd that had seen them struggle so mightily in Oakland during the two games prior—and played with the urgency that made many believe that they could be the darkhorse candidates to make the NBA Finals.

Of course, there was something that both the Denver players and fans seemed to display on Tuesday night that was totally unexpected; the Nuggets were nasty to the Warriors, especially to the emerging superstar that is Stephen Curry. Every chance Curry ran through traffic, the Nuggets delivered a forearm shiver, shoulder, hip check and trip maneuver to Curry, just to let him know this wasn’t going to be any easy sledding. Moreover, the Nuggets fans were rabidly booing Curry any chance he touched the rock. As Curry left the arena in a 107-100 defeat, some arena patron decided to say something in the general vicinity of Curry, and Curry definitely heard it.

 

Curry reacted, ran up into the fan’s face, and said some things that I imagine sounded something like, “You better watch your mouth before I challenge you to a game of Tekken, you rabblerouser you!” (Or something like that, with more expletives.) Regardless, a battered and chided Curry struggled on Tuesday, finishing with just 15 points on 7-of-19 shooting, along with a 1-for-7 performance from long range.

Will the rankling and ridiculing of Curry and the rest of the Warriors work in Game 6, in a hostile-on-its-own crowd like the one in Oakland? Denver doesn’t have much of a choice in this matter, so I’d be looking for more of the same from the squad whose season could officially end on Thursday evening. —Eduardo Maisonet, III / @edthesportsfan

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  • JetSkiJohnson

    what the excuse for Chris Paul when they lose the series?

  • Max

    Let’s go Memphis mother f*cking Grizzlies!!!
    http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/2557947/zachmf.gif

  • Max

    have there been any fines for flops yet?
    Because I haven’t read a thing about that, but I’ve seen alot allready.

  • ThaWindy

    The coach I’m assuming

  • KevinJohnsonFan

    Unless CP3 puts up a ridiculous 40 point, 12 assist kind of game, I don’t see them winning in Memphis. Vinny Del Negro is out of there.

  • Max

    Memphis is just outplaying them these last 3 games.

  • shockexchange

    (Denny Green voice) “The Clippers … they were who we thought they were!”

  • lights out

    chuck is right. cp3 needs to do everything for the clips. and they’re looking mighty exposed these days.

  • http://twitter.com/stepfdelaghetto Stepfan Raiford

    That he had no help.

  • http://twitter.com/stepfdelaghetto Stepfan Raiford

    Cant’ figure out if Marc Gasol is the best player on Memphis or Z-bo? I love watching cats like these guys and Tim Duncan just do work in the post. So fun to watch. While DeAndre and Blake (who I commend for trying to play on high ankle sprain. That’s just not happening. I don’t even think Kobe could play through that.) just rely on their athleticism, you got Marc and Z-bo who may posses 20% of athleticism (if that) and put up numbers like they did last night. CP3 had to drop 35 just to keep the game close, and was dead by the 4th. Eric Bledsoe needs more burn….sorry Chauncey.

  • airs

    the correct answer is D.) all of the above

  • airs

    vinny del negro has been BLESSED with talent on his teams in his early coaching years.
    its been able to (somewhat) mask the fact that he can’t coach an nba team, i’d be surprised if he’s back with the clips

  • duke

    Leave these things to spit hot fiyah and others, cornball.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    this

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    Gasol is by far the best overall player on Memphis. Offensively there is a conversation tho.

  • Max

    Allrighty…

  • LakeShow

    lol

  • spit hot fiyah

    gazeebo is the best player

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    how come my comments are the only ones disqus went back and found from before the commenting system switched? i just jumped up like 16,000 comments.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Junior-Taylor/100003121138419 Junior Taylor

    You’re special….nbk

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Junior-Taylor/100003121138419 Junior Taylor

    I have always been a huge fan of CP (I labeled him Isiah 2.0 for a reason) but if the Clipps lose, it will be yet another early round exit for him. I might have to rescind that nickname and start questioning his ability to lead a team to a championship (or at least to the Finals)

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    i don’t want to be special. and i don’t want an 18,000 comment lead on the leaderboard either lol

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    give him a season without VDN. He basically went from New Orleans in 2011 to New Orleans in 2008

  • Teddy-the-Bear

    Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, is that you?

  • AQWORD

    tru dat

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