The Memphis Grizzlies held off the Los Angeles Clippers in a physical and high scoring contest, 118-105, to win the series 4-2 and book their spot in the Western Conference semifinals. The Grizzlies will move on to play the Oklahoma City Thunder, who beat the Houston Rockets in Game 6 as well on Friday night.
Zach Randolph led the way for the Grizzlies with 23 points, five rebounds and four assists, but he got plenty of help from Tony Allen. The shooting guard gave the Grizzlies 19 points, seven rebounds, six assists and four steals in magnificent performance to help eliminate the Clippers.
Los Angeles' elimination couldn't be laid at the feet of Chris Paul, who scored 28 points and added eight assists. Matt Barnes was the game's leading scorer with 30 points and and 10 rebounds too, but Caron Butler was the Clippers' only other player to score in double digits as they struggled to make up for the injured Blake Griffin, who managed just nine points and three rebounds in 14 minutes.
The first half was a foul-off as the two teams took turns beating each other up in front of three whistle-happy referees. The result was 32 first half fouls and 30 Grizzles free throws, which handed Memphis a 58-53 lead despite Marc Gasol taking just one shot in the first 24 minutes.
The parade to the free throw line didn't stop after halftime, either, although it did slow. But while Memphis knocked their foul shots down, making 38-of-47, LA made just 16-of-24.
The game remained close throughout the third quarter and looked like it would go into the fourth in single digits, but the Grizzlies made a 8-0 run to close the quarter. Jerryd Bayless capped the period with a buzzer beater three that ignited the FedEx Forum and floored the Clippers.
Paul did his best to bring the the Clippers back in the fourth quarter, bringing his team close on several occasions, but they couldn't crack through. Without Griffin at 100 percent, they just didn't have an answer for the Grizzlies.
The game ended with neither team at full strength thanks to Joey Crawford, who ejected Paul and Randolph in the final two minutes. By then, the game was already in the bag, but their exits typified the whole game. Paul walked off the floor angry and flabbergasted, while Randolph went to the locker room jumping up and down and egging on a crowd that will see him and the Grizzlies in the second round.