After seeing a 3-1 series lead vanish after back-to-back losses, the Los Angeles Clippers went on the road and beat the Memphis Grizzlies by 10 points to pick up the first Game 7 win in franchise history.
According to Elias, the Clippers are the sixth team in NBA history to win Game 7 on the road after relinquishing a 3-1 series lead. It was only the third postseason series win in the franchise’s 42-year history and second since the club moved to the West Coast from Buffalo for the 1978-79 season.
The key to Sunday’s win was the defense. The Clippers held the Grizzlies to 72 points. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, that’s the second-fewest points allowed on the road in Game 7 during the shot-clock era. The Indiana Pacers beat the Boston Celtics 97-70 in the 1st Round of the 2005 playoffs.
Clippers Transition Defense
The biggest improvement was in transition defense. In Game 6, the Grizzlies outscored the Clippers 24-11 and made all eight shots in transition. On Sunday, the Grizzlies made only two of nine shots in transition and were outscored 16-6. In their four wins, the Clippers allowed nine points per game in transition; in defeat, that number climbed to 20 points per game.
The Clippers bench outscored the Grizzlies 41-11, with the five players off the bench all finishing with a positive plus-minus. During the 10 minutes that the five bench players were on the court together, they outscored the Grizzlies by 10 points.
The Clippers and Lakers both advancing to the Western Conference Semifinals creates a logjam on the schedule at Staples Center next weekend. With the Los Angeles Kings still alive in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the arena will host four basketball games and two hockey games from Thursday through Sunday, including doubleheaders on Saturday and Sunday.
The Lakers (Friday and Saturday) and Clippers (Saturday and Sunday) will both be playing on consecutive days. Our friends at Elias let us know that this will be the first time an NBA team has played playoff games on consecutive days since May 10-11, 2003. The Dallas Mavericks played the Sacramento Kings and Detroit Pistons played the Philadelphia 76ers on both of those dates.
James and Wade vs Pacers - 2nd Half
Notes from South Beach
Chris Bosh left the game with an abdominal strain in the second quarter, but that didn’t slow down the Miami Heat. LeBron James and Dwyane Wade combined for 42 points in the second half, outscoring the Indiana Pacers on their own. In the fourth quarter, James had 16 points to match the Pacers’ output.
LeBron joined Shaquille O’Neal as the only players in Heat history with a 30-point, 15-rebound playoff game.
After averaging 21.4 points per game in the 1st Round, Danny Granger scored seven points in the first game against the Heat. He was held scoreless in the first half for the first time since April 10, 2007 (regular season and playoffs combined).