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Griz win Game 3, cut Clips' series lead to 2-1

By By The Sports Xchange
Published On: Apr 26 2013 09:31:39 AM CDT
MEMPHIS -

During the individual pregame warmups, Zach Randolph was the last of the Memphis Grizzlies to leave the floor.

He stayed extra long, working on his post moves, flipping in shots from both sides of the basket.

Then, he went out and did it to the Clippers. The veteran forward had a turn-back-the-clock performance, going for 27 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Grizzlies to a 94-82 Game 3 victory in a first-round Western Conference series.

The win cut the Clips series lead to 2-1 with game 4 set for Saturday afternoon in FedExForum.

Marc Gasol added 16 points and eight rebounds, Tony Allen had 13 points and nine rebounds, and Mike Conley had six points and 10 assists.

The Clippers were led by Blake Griffin, who had 16 points. Point guard Chris Paul was held to eight points.

The Grizzlies led by as many as 14 points with 1:22 left in the third quarter before the Clippers cut the lead to seven points with starters Paul, Griffin and DeAndre Jordan resting on the bench.

That trio re-entered with 7:37 left to play, but the Grizzlies didn't flinch. The Grizzlies bench didn't put them in a bad spot heading down the stretch, and all the starters were fully armed and not in foul trouble.

In the first two playoff games, the Clippers came out swinging, trying to attack Randolph and draw fouls. In game three from the opening tip, Randolph attacked back.

He scored seven of the Grizzlies' first 11 points as the Grizzlies took a 11-10 lead with 5:33 left in the opening quarter. Randolph showed renewed energy, posting quickly on offense and his teammates got him the ball pronto. The Grizzlies led 21-16 when Randolph went to the bench for a breather.

For the first time in the series, the Grizzlies' bench didn't bend under the pressure of the Clippers' reserves during the game's first substitution.

Also, Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins took note to keep at least two starters on the floor at just about all times. Such strategy seemed to steady the Grizzlies. When all the Grizzlies' starters returned, they went on a 9-0 run and led 47-39 at the half.

Hollins emphasized before the game that the Grizzlies would have to come out firing every quarter, especially after halftime. And they did, with the offense coming from an unlikely source -- Allen, the league's best perimeter defender.

Allen, who didn't score in the first half, scored six points in the first three minutes of the half. Memphis got into the last 2:36 leading by 10, but seemed it was losing energy and focus when a media timeout occurred. The Clips finished the quarter on an 8-0 run and trailed just 70-62 entering the final period.

NOTES: The Clippers entered the night having won three straight games in FedExForum and four of the past six, but the Grizzlies still felt good about their home-court advantage. They walked in for their shootaround and noticed a yellow "Growl Towel" laid on every seat in the arena. "Seeing these yellow towels makes me think about training camp, fighting hard to get to this point," Grizzlies guard Tony Allen said. "Not letting up is our mindset, grinding." ... While the Grizzlies set a franchise record for most home wins in a season with 32, the Clippers set a franchise record for most road wins in a season with 24. ... The Memphis bench wasn't able to match the Los Angeles bench in the first two games. "We feel like teams get worn down because they're facing two starting-five units," said Clippers reserve guard Jamal Crawford, who averaged 16.5 points in the regular season and 14 points in the first two playoff games. "Our job is to increase the lead and wear the other team out so our starters can polish them off." ... Randolph and Griffin were whistled for double fouls against each other in each of the first two games. "The rasslin' breaks up the flow of the game," Clippers coach Vinny del Negro said. "All you can ask for is for the officials to be consistent."

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