After failing twice to eliminate the Memphis Grizzlies, the Los Angeles Clippers made good on the third and most difficult try on the road Sunday in front of a frenzied crowd.
With their bench providing a decisive spark, the Clippers earned a second-round spot against the San Antonio Spurs with a hard-fought 82-72 Game 7 win.
L.A.’s reserves outscored Memphis’ 41-11. More significant was the fourth-quarter production. Veteran forward Kenyon Martin had 11 points, seven in the last 12 minutes, when the game was decided. The Clipper bench provided every field goal in the last period except a Chris Paul hoop.
”Our bench was our MVP,” Clippers guard Randy Foye said. ”They realized what they had to do. We had a lot of guys hurt, so we just continued to grind.”
”Unfortunately, no one on the bench stepped up and helped us,” Memphis coach Lionel Hollins said.
Now, the Clippers have their third postseason series win in 41 years and their second since relocating to Los Angeles. They last beat Denver in 2006. The Clippers also avoided becoming the ninth NBA team to blow a 3-1 lead in a best-of-seven series in moving on to play the top-seeded Spurs starting Tuesday night in San Antonio.