Clippers get tossed out of playoffs
MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Chris Paul sat in a chair wearing a red jacket, his night done early after he was ejected from the game with 2:29 left after getting his second technical foul.
Matt Barnes sat in his chair with a towel over his head. Blake Griffin sat in his chair with both hands on his head, his sprained right ankle in a bucket of ice.
The Clippers’ locker room was mostly quiet after a 118-105 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies in Game 6 that eliminated L.A. from the Western Conference first-round playoffs.
The Clippers had won the first two games at home, but they lost the next four games by double digits, losing the series, 4-2.
They never were able to stop a Memphis team the they had beaten in an epic seven-game first-round series last season. Memphis moves on to the second round to play Oklahoma City.
“This is terrible. This terrible,” said Paul, who had 28 points, eight assists and four rebounds before he was ejected. “I’ve got a lot of time to think, I’ll tell you that much.
“I got a lot of time to think about what we could have done more in this series. But in Game 6, we decided to come to the fight with our backs to the wall. It was too late.”
Griffin didn’t start because of his injured ankle, but he played almost 14 minutes and had nine points and three rebounds.
Matt Barnes scored a playoff career-high 30 points and had 10 rebounds.
Jamal Crawford didn’t score, missing all five of his shots in just 12:36.
Paul played with a bruised left thumb and a stomach virus that forced him to visit the Clippers’ locker room in the first half.
But none of it mattered against a Memphis team that had all five starters score in double figures.
Zach Randolph had 23 points before he was ejected for getting his second technical foul in the fourth quarter.
Point guard Mike Conley had 23 points and seven assists.
In a physical game, the Grizzlies made 38 of 47 free throws to 16 of 24 for the Clippers.
“We’ve got a great bunch of guys. They battled,” said Clippers Coach Vinny Del Negro, who is in the final year of his contract.
“You put everything into it, and it’s tough right now. We’ll re-evaluate everything.”
Del Negro said he wants to return as coach of the Clippers.
“A lot of decisions have to be made,” he said. “We’ll look at everything.”
Paul also has to think about his future.
He will be a free agent this summer and can sign a five-year, $107.3-million contract extension with the Clippers.
“I’ve got a lot of time to think about that as I do with any decision in life,” Paul said. “I’ll consult with my wife, my parents, my brother, my family. I might even let Lil Chris [ his son] chime in on this. We’ll see what happens.”
The Clippers began to unravel in the third quarter, their emotions getting the best of them.
They were called for five technical fouls.
“I hate to lose more than anything,” Paul said. “It stings. It’s the worst. I didn’t have nothing planned until after June, as far as camps. I don’t have nothing to do. I’ll spend a lot of time with my kids and my family, which is all good and well. But all I know is basketball. We’re done.”
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