NBA Sunday Was Gutsy In L.A., Predictable In Miami
Clippers point guard Chris Paul made a sweet Los Angeles sports weekend sweeter still. Only a handful of hours after The L.A. Lakers secured a series-deciding victory at Staples Center in L.A., Paul and the new-look Clippers made a physical statement in their own Game 7 in Memphis.
The Grizzlies and Clippers battled hard in a vintage NBA Playoff performance; the game was low scoring, passionate and physical beyond belief. No player on either squad had a particularly impressive offensive performance, the game high for each team was 19 points (Paul, Gasol and Randolph), but the story of Game 7 was mostly defense and heart on both sides of the court.
Star forward Blake Griffin didn’t contribute much to the stat sheet with 8 points and 3-11 shooting but his ferocious effort made a sizable difference. In the many hotly-contested scrums beneath the basket, Griffin was almost always among the many bodies soaring for rebounds or fighting for post-up position.
The same can be said of the Grizzlies, and they certainly deserve equal praise for a hard fought Sunday contest, but what ultimately decided this game was The Clippers bench, which scored 25 points in the 4th quarter and put the game out of reach for Memphis. Kenyon Martin and Reggie Evans combined for a valuable 19 rebounds as L.A. pulled away from Memphis in the last several minutes of the game. Clippers guard Eric Bledsoe scored another 8 points off the bench and had this to say after the win:
“That’s what we do, the bench comes in and we try to change the pace of the game and change the momentum of the game. We come in and get stops and just run.”
The Clippers will need all of this and more if they expect to contend with the top-seeded Spurs in the next round. The game schedule for that series will likely be announced in the next 24-hours.
In Miami the news was all about LeBron.
In his first game after being awarded the 2012 MVP award (his third in four seasons) James put up a team-high 32 points in a Game 1 win against the Indiana Pacers.
Dwayne Wade posted 29 points and 4 assists also as The Heat took over in the second half and took Game 1 from a Pacers team that, while talented, is not expected to be much of a match for the motivated and seasoned Heat players.
The most notable news from Game 1 was Heat forward Chris Bosh missing the second half with an abdominal strain and his return will likely play a key part in how closely this series plays out the rest of the way. The Pacers bigs could take advantage of his absence if Bosh is going to miss any serious time.
Game 2 kicks off at 6 PM Tuesday night in Miami.
Brandon Rompa is a writer and musician from Minneapolis, MN. He began writing album reviews and current-event music articles for his college paper at Winona State University in 2007 and has continued to pursue the craft in his leisure time since, hoping to share his love of recorded music, present and past, in a conversational and relatable manner.
Email Brandon at email@example.com