Twice now, the Los Angeles Clippers’ fate rested on the last-second shot of Rudy Gay. Twice, Gay missed, including a double-pump three-pointer at the buzzer Saturday, allowing L.A. to earn an 87-86 victory over Memphis and 2-1 playoff series lead.
The Grizzlies benefited from Eric Bledsoe’s two missed free throws with less than eight seconds to go, setting up Gay’s failed attempt. His 16-footer was short in Game 1, when the Clippers came back from a 24-point deficit to win in Memphis.
Chris Paul had 24 points and 11 assists to lead L.A., which won its first home playoff game in six years. Blake Griffin added 17 points. Trailing 86-80 after two free throws by Paul, Gay hit a 3-pointer with 12.9 seconds left, Memphis’ first field goal since 7:10. After Los Angeles missed three of four free throws, Gay hit another 3-pointer with 8.9 seconds. But he did not sink the game-winner, leaving Memphis wondering what could have been.
Pacers Make Amends In OT
The Indiana Pacers wasted a 19-point lead but managed to hold on in overtime to take a 101-99 victory over the Orlando Magic and commanding 3-1 first-round playoff series lead.
It was a pair of George Hill free throws with 2.2 seconds left in overtime to help the Pacers survive in Orlando. They could not celebrate until Glen Davis jump shot came up short at the buzzer that would have tied the game.
David West scored 26 points, including 12 in the third quarter and four in overtime for Indiana. Danny Granger added 21 points.
The Pacers won their third straight game and will try to close out the Eastern Conference series Tuesday in Indianapolis and get out of the opening round for the first time since 2005.
”They did a great job of coming back,” said Granger, who returned to the game in the fourth quarter after spraining his right knee in the third. ”That was a momentum win. They had a lot of momentum going. We’re lucky to get out of here.”
Indiana coach Frank Vogel echoed that fortunate feeling, but said he also likes being in the spot his team is in now.
”Yeah, it’s a good place to be,” he said. ”We feel like we can get a win on our home court. It’s tough to get a road win anywhere against anyone in the playoffs. To come in here in a tough environment and get two, it just speaks volumes of our guys’ resiliency.”
Orlando had a final chance to tie the game in the closing seconds, but Glen Davis’ fade away jumper bounced off the side of the rim.
Jason Richardson led the Magic with 25 points and Davis added 24 points and 11 rebounds. Davis had 24 points and Jason Richardson 25 for the Magic, which is now 5-11 without injured center Dwight Howard.
Only eight teams have been able to wipe out 3-1 deficits in NBA history, the last being Phoenix against the Los Angeles Lakers in 2006.