Chris Paul made the game-winner with 0.1 seconds left on Monday, lifting the Los Angeles Clippers to a 93-91 win over the Memphis Grizzlies that stretched their NBA playoff series lead to 2-0.
The victory followed the Clippers’ 112-91 triumph on Saturday in Game 1 of the best-of-seven Western Conference first-round series, which shifts to Memphis, Tennessee, for Game 3 tomorrow.
Memphis center Marc Gasol’s slam dunk with 13.9 seconds remaining had knotted the score at 91-91.
After a timeout, Paul drove to the basket and banked in a shot over Tony Allen. Officials reviewed the play and declared the basket good.
Memphis had a chance to inbound the ball, but with just 0.1 seconds on the clock the Grizzlies had no time to get the ball in the basket.
“We were on him,” Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins said of Paul’s heroics. “What can you do? The kid made a tough shot. He’s a great player. That’s what great players do — they win games.”
Paul finished with 24 points, nine assists and four rebounds for the Clippers, while Blake Griffin added 21 points and eight rebounds.
“We found a way to win the game,” Clippers coach Vinny del Negro said. “Blake was aggressive early, set the tone for us, and Chris made the plays down the stretch.”
Mike Conley led the Grizzlies with 28 points and nine assists, while Gasol added 17 points and seven rebounds for Memphis, who trailed by 12 early in the fourth quarter.
Allen finished with 16 points and 10 rebounds, but he was not able to stop Paul — who scored eight straight points for the Clippers in the final four minutes.
“He did a great job of staying on me,” Paul said of Allen’s defense on the crucial last-second play. “Every time I tried to get a little space to go left, he ate the space up. I looked at the clock and it was: ‘All right, I’ve got to go.’ Luckily, I made the shot.”
Allen said he felt he let his teammates down, but he believes the Grizzlies — who fell to the Clippers in seven games in the first round last year — can turn the series around back home in Memphis.
“I’m not frustrated,” Allen said. “It’s still a long series. We’ve just got to go home and take care of business — lay it all on the line.”