The Memphis Grizzlies clawed their way back into their NBA first-round playoff series against the Los Angeles Clippers on Thursday with a much needed 94-82 victory.
The Grizzlies, who lost the first two games in Los Angeles — including a heartbreaking defeat in Game 2 — were buoyed by a raucous home crowd and a double-double from Zach Randolph as they narrowed the gap in the best-of-seven Western Conference series to 2-1.
The Clippers had managed to contain Randolph in the first two games, but he broke loose on Thursday to score 27 points with 11 rebounds — including six offensive boards.
Marc Gasol, who accepted his trophy as NBA Defensive Player of the Year before the game, contributed 16 points and eight rebounds, and helped hold the Clippers to just 38.8 percent shooting from the floor.
Tony Allen scored 13 points and Quincy Pondexter added 13 off the bench for the Grizzlies.
Mike Conley made just one of nine shots from the field, but contributed 10 assists and three steals.
“We had to clean up some of our mistakes that we were making earlier in series,” Pondexter said. “We can’t let their bench guys come out and get loose. We really had great intensity on the defensive end and, thank god, we got the win.”
Chris Paul, who delivered the game-winning shot for the Clippers with a fraction of a second left in Game 2 on Monday, connected on just four of 11 from the field in scoring eight points.
Blake Griffin added 16 points and Chauncey Billups contributed 11 in the setback.
“We’ve been able to contain them pretty well the first couple of games. We just didn’t do a good enough job,” Clippers coach Vinny del Negro said. “We got backed up too much. We gave them a few three-pointers we didn’t need to give them ... all the things we’ve been doing very well to get to this point, we weren’t as effective tonight.”
The Grizzlies will try to level the series when they host Game 4 today.
The two teams battled seven games in the first round last year, with the Clippers finally emerging with the series win.
JEREMY LIN INJURED
AFP, HOUSTON, Texas
Houston point guard Jeremy Lin has a muscle contusion on the right side of his chest that could keep him out of Game 3 of the Rockets NBA Western Conference first-round playoff series against Oklahoma City.
The Rockets trail the top-seeded Thunder 2-0 in the best-of-seven series and host Game 3 today.
Lin was injured in the first half of a 105-102 defeat in Game 2 on Wednesday night, and Houston’s hugely popular Taiwanese-American star missed all of the second half.
Lin, who said he was hurt when he collided with another player, had an MRI exam on Thursday which revealed the injury.
The 24-year-old remains optimistic that he will be able to play today.
“It feels a lot better,” Lin said on Thursday, adding that painful spasms had subsided. “Now it’s just getting range of motion and being pain-free.”
Patrick Beverley received the majority of the minutes at point guard in Lin’s absence, notching career bests of 16 points and 12 rebounds with six assists.