5) 2012 1st Round vs Grizzlies Game 4
It had been six years since the LA Clippers had last made the playoffs. Five consecutive seasons under .500, to be exact. It was the first season of the Lob City era. Blake Griffin and Chris Paul provided highlight plays for the 66 game lockout-shortened regular season en route to the 5th seed in an uber competitive western conference. Their first round opposition was the Memphis Grizzlies, a gritty team who had just come one game short of the Western Conference Finals in 2011. In addition, they had their leading scorer Rudy Gay, who was hurt for the entirety of their 2011 playoff run.
The LA Clippers had a 2-1 series leading heading into game 4, with 2 of the 3 games being decided by just 1 point. CP3 and company had a chance to take a commanding 3-1 series lead. Walking into the beautiful stadium that is Staples Center, I immediately noticed the red shirts on every seat which read, “Risen LAC”. The atmosphere did not disappoint, immediately turning into the loudest sporting event I’d attended in my 13 years. There was this feeling in the stadium amongst Clipper fans that, “We haven’t had this. And I’m gonna cherish every second of being in the big dance that is the NBA Playoffs.”
It was absolutely electric from start to finish. A high intensity, neck and neck affair, with both teams going at each other. Down the stretch, the Grizzlies managed to hang around and tie the game at 87 with 20 seconds remaining. Immediately, I thought of one thing. Please let my favorite player, Chris Paul, hit a game winner that will go down in the history books.
He isolated against Tony Allen at the top of the key. He made his move with about four seconds left. Chris tried turning away from Allen at the foul line after driving hard right, lost his footing and didn’t get a shot off. Overtime baby! And that’s when Chris Paul showed Clipper Nation that he was the best player they’d ever had at that point. He completely took over, hitting four patented CP3 mid-range jumpers off high pick and rolls. Mo Williams would go on to hit the game clinching free throws and put the Clippers up 3-1. A lead they almost blew, before miraculously winning game seven in Memphis. Game 4 however, had Overtime Heroics at its finest, led by Chris Paul, who finished with 27 points, 7 rebounds, and 9 assists. Blake Griffin chipped in with 30 of his own.
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