The Memphis Grizzlies got everything working; the Clippers got nothing going and Memphis held on to a 58-39 lead at halftime of their playoff game at Memphis.
The perfect exclamation point to the half came as the clock expired for the second quarter, with Marc Gasol getting a lob pass and dunking the ball for the 19-point lead. Memphis finished the quarter on an 8-0 run.
Gasol led the Grizzlies with 14 points in the first half. No Clippers starter had more than Caron Butler’s eight points.
The Clippers’ adjustments after the first quarter did, well, nothing. Memphis increased its lead to 43-24 when Quincy Pondexter made a three-pointer from the left corner. At that point, the Grizzlies were four for four from long range; the Clippers were one for five.
But the Clippers’ second unit, led by Nick Young, helped them work their way back in. His driving layup cut the lead to 43-30 with 6:07 left. At that point, he had 10 points, making his three shots from the field and all four free throws, and was virtually the entire offense for L.A. But the Clippers’ good fortune was temporary.
Blake Griffin told TNT before the game that he couldn’t believe how intense the atmosphere was as he got ready for the first NBA playoff game of his career. He was apparently caught off-guard by the situation and was nearly invisible, making one of three shots for two points, one rebound, a turnover and two fouls.
Chris Paul, who got two early fouls in the first quarter, also was ineffective, finishing with one point and three assists.