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NBA Playoffs Day 3 Round Up – April 23rd, 2013

Noah Graham/NBAE/Getty Images

Noah Graham/NBAE/Getty Images

Los Angeles Clippers 93 – Memphis Grizzles 91

They left 14 seconds on clock. The game was tied at 91 a piece. Memphis just executed the perfect pick and roll for the Marc Gasol bucket. One mistake. They left way too much time on the clock. As the buzzer sounds and players take the court for the final possession, there was a familiar feeling in the air. Chris Paul weaves past the defense to shed his initial defender. No use. He stuck to him like bee protecting his hive. One hesitation. Two hesitation. Nothing. Tony Allen had him where he wanted. Except he did not account for his immobilized help. Left with the smallest amount of space imaginable, Chris took the final drive. The ball hits glass and gently falls into the basket. The backboard lights up. The crowd explode in to cheers. The game was over. The point god stood on the side without a single sweat on his face. The Los Angeles Clippers have won. The heads of the Grizzlies lowers in disappointment. They will head home down 2 games, with the opportunity to return favor.

Game notes: Blake Griffin set the tone early, scoring 13 of his total 21 points (9-18) in the first quarter. Using pure athleticism to run circles around Zach Randolph. Blake also finished with 8 rebounds and 4 assists.

Even though it felt like the Clippers had control for the most part of this game, Memphis was always in winning distance. They were down 12 with 9 minutes in the 4th quarter, and still fought back to make things interesting down the stretch.

Chris Paul was the only Clipper to score in the last 7 minutes, scoring 8 of the team’s final 10.

Mike Conley Jr. was absolutely brilliant in this game. He had a playoff career high 28 points on 9 of 18 shooting, and 9 assists. He’s great for the Memphis team, but I can’t help to imagine how much better he could be, on a team that is capable of running. He is devastating in transition.

The Memphis defense in the final play was all sorts of wrong. Tony Allen should have forced Chris to the left. And there is no reason to not help off of Matt Barnes in the case that Tony does need help. Also Lionel Hollins benched Z-Bo in the final 5 minutes after getting his fifth foul. Darell Arthur was great for those 2 minutes, but it wasn’t particularly a wise move.

Chicago Bulls 90 – Brooklyn Nets 82

After an embarrassing blow out loss on Saturday night, the Chicago Bulls regrouped in typical Tom Thibodeau Chicago Bulls fashion in the second game to even up the series. The game itself wasn’t pretty but the stifling Chicago defense that held the Brooklyn Nets to 35 percent shooting, was something to behold. The Brooklyn backcourt comprised of Deron Williams and Joe Johnson were completely rendered useless, combining for 25 points on 27 shots, which is kind of amazing when consider the fact that Kirk Hinrich and Nate Robinson were responsible for the two for the majority of the game. Brook Lopez did the most of the damage for the Nets, going for 21 points (7 of 14) and 5 rebounds. It should also be noted that Nazr Mohammed from Cretaceous Period, played actual minutes and was productive in all 18 with 8 points on 4 of 5 shooting, so there’s that. The return of Joakim Noah was huge in this one, registering a double-double of 11 points and 10 boards. I am very aware that he was present in the first game, but the 13 minutes of limping in that loss wasn’t exactly his best game. Noah’s defensive presence was especially felt in the second half, including the 11 point third quarter allowed to the Nets and a number of incredible hustle plays down the stretch that sealed the win.

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