As I turned off my television and closed my eyes, I had an uneasy feeling. Ten minutes later, I sat up in my bed, reached for my phone and clicked on the ESPN app. I went to the NBA homepage and clicked on the “scores” tab. When the page loaded, I couldn’t believe what I saw.
The Clippers had taken a one-point lead with less than one minute to play in the 4th quarter. A game that I thought was in the books, had taken an unexpected turn for the worst in the birthplace of Rock-N-Roll. Chris Paul led the Los Angeles Clippers on a comeback-for-the-ages against the Memphis Grizzlies in Game 1 of the Western Conference Playoffs. Memphis was up 24 points with eight minutes left in the 4th quarter before Paul told head coach Vinny Del Negro that he was going back into the game. Del Negro seemingly lost all hope when he pulled his starters moments earlier. Led by Paul, the Clippers stormed back thanks to large contributions from Nick Young and Reggie Evans. Kenyon Martin made the game’s final stop when he shutdown Memphis’ star Rudy Gay on the final possession.
So how does Memphis rebound from something that could end up being so catastrophic to a team’s psyche? Memphis was physically bullying Los Angeles and dominating in every area of the game for the first 40 minutes. It even got to the point that right before halftime; Marc Gasol made a tremendous “Dream Shake” on Evans, but missed the bunny in lane. No worries though, Dante Cunningham came from out-of-nowhere for the tip-slam over poster-boy Blake Griffin. That dunk brought the decibel level of the FedEx Forum to a deafening level.
But in the end, none of that mattered. The Clippers showed that basketball is truly a “game of runs”, even runs of unseen proportions. They closed the game on a 28-3 run. I had a feeling that when Memphis jumped out to a big lead early, Los Angeles still had a chance. They have a lot of players who can come off the bench and provide instant offense. Guys like Young, Mo Williams, and Randy Foye have been pretty consistent all season. Eventually the Clippers caught the Grizzlies and ended up winning the game.
Kevin Garnett said it best back in 2008 after the Boston Celtics won the NBA Finals, when he said “Anything is possible!”
So far, anything is possible. We have seen Derrick Rose tear his ACL, Kevin Durant hit an impossible game-winner, Andrew Bynum block 10 shots en-route to a triple-double, and the Clippers erasing a 24-point lead in eight minutes.
From now on I am going to watch every game until the clock hits 0.00.
I learned my lesson last night.
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