LOS ANGELES -- The Los Angeles Clippers defeated the Memphis Grizzlies 93-91 in thrilling fashion Monday night at Staples Center and took a 2-0 lead in the first-round series of the NBA Western Conference playoffs.
A quick breakdown:
How it happened: Chris Paul made an off-balance, one-handed bank shot over Tony Allen with 0.1 seconds to play as the Clippers held off a late rally by Memphis. The Grizzlies tried a desperation in-bounds play, but the shot missed.
Moments before Paul’s game winner, Marc Gasol tied the game at 91 on a wide-open dunk with 13.9 seconds to play coming out of a Memphis timeout. The Clippers immediately called timeout and set up Paul’s game winner.
L.A. led by as many as 12 early in the fourth quarter and still had an 85-76 lead with 6:50 to play. The Grizzlies, who made only two of their first eight shots in the fourth quarter, stormed back and made four shots in a row to tie the game at 89-89 with 1:37 to play.
Turning point: The Clippers began the fourth quarter with an 8-0 run that helped them open an 83-71 lead. The key sequence came when Lamar Odom blocked a Marc Gasol shot with 11 minutes remaining in the game, and then 15 seconds later Odom fed a bounce pass to Eric Bledsoe for a two-handed dunk. The crowd-raising sequence gave the Clippers an 81-71 lead and marked the first time either team had led by double digits in the game.
Player of the game: Paul had 24 points and nine assists on 9-of-17 shooting. He scored eight of his points in the final 3:43 of the game, including the game-winning shot, and was the only Clippers player to score in the final six minutes of the game.
What it means: The Clippers have a commanding 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series. Only 15 teams have come back from a 2-0 deficit to win a series in NBA playoff history.
What’s next: The series will reconvene Thursday in Memphis. The teams will play two games there and return to Los Angeles on April 30 for Game 5 if necessary.