Memphis Cannot Stop Chris Paul; Utah Gon’ Fishing

By: 05.08.12
Chris Paul

Chris Paul (photo. Jordan Brand)

Oh, we want to put an asterisk by this so, so bad. But damn, Chris Paul is just too, too good. We can forget that CP and Blake Griffin will probably wake up today with whiplash from all of their flopping and flailing. Paul dropped eight overtime points, cooked half the Grizzlies roster, and finished with 27 points, nine rebounds and seven assists as the Clippers went up 3-1 on Memphis, 101-97. After not having a single second-chance point all game, L.A. had two buckets in a row off misses in overtime, and even with Mike Conley (25 points, seven rebounds, eight dimes) playing the game of his life, the Grizzlies couldn’t finish. Again. … Throughout the third quarter, we kept waiting and waiting for the Clippers to blow it open. Zach Randolph (12 points) was struggling, and had resorted to deep jumpers while Griffin (30 points) was beasting him on the block. The Grizzlies were visibly frustrated, Rudy Gay (8-for-25, 23 points) was forcing everything and Randolph had gotten so sick of Griffin’s repeated flops that we were expecting the old Jail Blazer to come out. Eventually, Memphis dwindled the Clippers’ lead all the way down to two in the final minute, and then after three or four wild possessions ending in loose balls, Gay took Blake Griffin off the dribble and tied it up with 35.5 seconds left. A Chris Paul ankle-breaker and two Z-Bo free throws later, and it set up one final possession for the Clippers: game tied, 20 seconds left. For once, CP3 didn’t come through, losing the ball without getting a shot off … Everyone was trading threes in the first quarter, from Randy Foye‘s digital reincarnation from Villanova to Gay to Caron “Look Ma, No Hands” Butler. The Grizzlies coming out with a 10-2 start and enough energy that Tony Allen nearly got into it with CP on a simple Clipper timeout call was as unsurprising as Shaq‘s dunk in the pre-game show. But what was surprising was the guy who had a fractured hand had L.A.’s first eight points. Caron Butler said that even with his broken hand, he could still play against the Grizzlies. He doesn’t need hands. If Amar’e Stoudemire can put up 20 and 10 with one hand, Tyson Chandler probably expected Caron Butler to drop a 20-piece … But it’s time for someone to put an end to Chris Paul’s flopping ass (Blake Griffin too). Seriously, it’s out of control. He drew three fouls IN THE BACKCOURT in the first quarter alone off flops. What part of the game is that? Shout out to Lionel Hollins for calling him out on live television by saying, “Chris does a good job of… flopping.” Meanwhile, Rudy Gay drove to the rim on four possessions in the first quarter and didn’t get a call on any of them … Unbelievable end-to-end sequence in the second quarter where Eric Bledsoe sent back Marreese Speights at the rim, starting a fast break. On the other end, Griffin finished a lob as only he can to put L.A. up seven. Bledsoe is the best little man that plays like a big man since Tyrion LannisterNick Young came to the arena looking like he was straight out of the ’60s or ’70s with a shirt that screamed “I’m the love child of Burt Reynolds and Pam Grier.” Either that or he just got off the set of a George Clinton video. The guys in the TNT studios thankfully ripped him … The Knicks tweeted out a statement last night saying an MRI revealed Baron Davis has a partial tear of the patella tendon and complete tears of the ACL and MCL in his right knee. RIP Baron … Keep reading to hear about how Batman destroyed the drama in Utah …

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The Spurs weren’t about to let the crowd in Salt Lake City elevate to Kenny Chesney-in-concert levels of hyped (There were also a surprising amount of empty seats at tip-off. Utah fans aren’t used to rolling to the arena so early.), jumping all over the backs of the Jazz’s walking corpses, and rolling to the second round with a 87-81 win to complete the sweep. We might have to check San Antonio’s inner workings for some type of blueprint on how to create a great team without one singular talent. Kenny Smith said it at halftime: “They don’t get good shots… they get GREAT shots.” It’s true. As we wrote this weekend, we need an “extra pass” counter at the bottom of the screen for the Spurs. Outside of a Tim Duncan flop that was so bad Raja Bell was probably chuckling on Utah’s bench, the Spurs were disturbingly effective in the first half, and went into the break up eight … Devin Harris (19 points, seven assists) was balling last night. He spearheaded a 10-0 run to bring Utah within three in the third quarter. He was hitting pull-up Js, wild up-and-under reverses, and everything in-between. Harris has actually been much better in the past five weeks; turns out he didn’t donate his game to free agent-to-be Goran Dragic earlier this year. But then Manu Ginobili (17 points) killed all that noise with two consecutive triples at the end of the quarter to put the Spurs back up 10. Ironically, Ginobili didn’t score in double-digits in any of the series’ first three games, and then scored 10 straight for the No. 1 seed to put it away (Incredibly, the Spurs’ bench scored at least 40 points in every game of this series. That’s outrageous.). Eventually, the Jazz went on an eight minute drought without a bucket that didn’t end until Al Jefferson (26 points, 10 rebounds) hit a jump hook. Just like that, you looked up and San Antonio was up 18. It eventually rose to 21 until Utah came storming back, and cut it all the way down to four in the closing seconds before Batman came through with a steal and a layup that pretty much iced it … Lamar Odom won’t be getting his playoff share from the Dallas Mavericks after flaming out during the season. He doesn’t deserve it either. Somewhere along the way during the lockout, he lost his game, and while we can definitely sympathize with his personal problems, it is what it is. The only problem with all of this is the rest of the Mavs also shouldn’t get their playoff shares. They didn’t show up either … And Allen Iverson says he’s considering a seven-figure offer to play in China, in part because he’s such a big star over there (And here, actually). Please let this happen and please let someone turn this into a documentary … We’re out like Utah.

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