Lob City was shelved for one night as the Los Angeles Clippers opted for efficient guard play on their way to a 112-91 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies to take a 1-0 series lead.
The Clippers opened the game on a quick 6-0 run. That pace didn't last, as the referees took control of the game, calling 12 total personal fouls in the quarter. The Clippers took advantage of those foul calls, as many of them came after made baskets including a Jamal Crawford four point play that made it 18-14 midway through the quarter. Zach Randolph, Tony Allen and Mike Conley all ended the first quarter on the bench with two fouls each as the Clippers took a 29-21 lead.
The Clippers continued to push the pace in the second quarter, building the lead to as many as 10 points before Memphis started chipping away at the lead. Randolph and Jerryd Bayless started playing a two man-game against the Clippers' second unit and combined to score 10 of the Grizzlies' next 12 points to cut the Clipper lead to three midway through the quarter. A back-and-forth finish to the quarter put the Clippers up 57-51 heading in the locker room at half.
Chris Paul, who remained relatively quiet in the first half, erupted in the third quarter as the Clippers took control. Paul started the quarter on an 6-2 run to help Los Angeles build the lead to 11. Foul trouble for both teams continued in the third, as Griffin, Randolph and Conley all picked up their fourth fouls in the quarter and were forced to go to the bench. Bayless checked back and scored five quick points to help get the Clipper lead down to six heading in to the fourth quarter.
Memphis opened the fourth with a burst of offense and cut the lead to one before Los Angeles' second unit scored six straight to force Lionel Hollins to call a timeout. The Clippers continued to pound the glass, out rebounding the Grizzlies 14-4 on the offensive end, resulting in several second chance points. Down 10, Hollins called for Hack-A-Shaq on DeAndre Jordan with over four minutes to go. Jordan made the first free throw, then missed the second. Griffin was fouled by Gasol on the box out and sank both free throws to put the Clippers up 13, effectively putting the game to bed.
Paul had 23 points and seven assists, and the Clippers finished with seven players in double figures. While the Grizzlies front court duo of Gasol and Randolph had no problems scoring, they combined for just six rebounds, about 12 below their combined season average. Game 2 is set for Monday at 10:30 p.m. ET and will be on TNT.