LOS ANGELES – Just like he did when he won the NBA “Rookie of the Year” Award while playing here in Oklahoma City for the “transplanted” New Orleans Hornets several years ago, all-star point guard Chris Paul delivered again last night as the Los Angeles Clippers beat the Memphis Grizzlies 93-91 at the buzzer to take a 2-0 lead in the best-of-7 playoff series. Paul (24 pts., 9 assists) was involved in a pure point-guard “shoot out” with Mike Conley of Memphis (28 pts., 9 assists) as the two perimeter leaders kept hitting or assisting shot-after-shot as the game tightened down the stretch.
In the end, after Marc Gasol dunked for Memphis to tie it at 91-all with :13 left, Paul took the ball at the top of the key guarded very tightly by former Oklahoma State star Tony Allen of Memphis. Allen, one of the NBA’s top defenders, pushed Paul off-balance several times before the Clippers all-star managed to weave his way to his right and put up a floater that banked-in off the glass as time expired…for the game winner. Upon further review, the officials determined that was there was 1-tenth of a second to go, so Memphis tried an in-bounds that bounced away and the Clippers took a commanding two game lead with the series now shifting back to Memphis for games 3-and-4. Former Sooner legend Blake Griffin added 21 points and 8 rebounds for Los Angeles.
The winner of the Clippers-Memphis series plays the winner of the OKC Thunder-Houston Rockets series in the second round of the playoffs.