Los Angeles, CA – Chris Paul had just two points in the fourth quarter and was unable to get a shot off before the final buzzer in regulation, but his mastery in overtime has the Los Angeles Clippers on the brink of winning a playoff series for just the second time in the last 36 years.
Paul netted eight of his 27 points in the extra session to go with nine rebounds and seven assists as the Clippers downed the Memphis Grizzlies, 101-97, in Game 4 of this tightly-contested NBA first-round series.
"Chris Paul won the game for them down the stretch," Memphis head coach Lionel Hollins said. "He's the problem, we have to solve the problem."
The Clippers last won a playoff series in 2006, when they defeated the Denver Nuggets in the first round, and haven't been to the postseason since then.
Through the first four games, the total margin of victory is a minuscule 13 points.
Blake Griffin added 30 points, seven assists and five rebounds before fouling out with 2:26 remaining in overtime for Los Angeles, which took a 3-1 series edge.
"Blake was outstanding," Paul said. "He does a great job of picking his spots. He's our horse"
Game 5 slated is slated for Wednesday in Memphis.
Mike Conley had 25 points to go with eight assists and seven rebounds for Memphis, which overcame a 10-point margin over the final 4 1/2 minutes of the fourth frame to send the contest into an extra session. Rudy Gay poured in 23 points.
With the game knotted at 89-89 in overtime, the Clippers seized control of the contest with a 6-0 flurry.
Griffin made 1-of-2 from the foul line, Paul nailed a jumper and Griffin's three-point play made it 95-89 in favor of Los Angeles with 2:42 remaining.
The Grizzlies netted the next four as Conley put in a bank shot and Gay followed with a runner to cut the deficit to 95-93.
But the Clippers retaliated as back-to-back jumpers from Paul pushed the advantage to 99-93.
Once again, though, Memphis tallied the next two baskets. Gasol's dunk made it 97-93 with 37 ticks on the clock. The Grizzlies elected to play out the Clippers' next possession instead of fouling, which paid off. O.J. Mayo stole a bad pass from Paul, which led to a Conley layup in transition to cut the edge to 99-97 with 10.1 seconds left.
But Mo Williams sealed the win with a pair of foul shots.
Caron Butler, who was expected to miss 4-to-6 weeks after fracturing his left hand in Game 1, led all scorers with 11 first-quarter points as Los Angeles led, 32-26, after a quarter of play.
The Clippers took a 51-45 advantage into the locker room, and held a 69-64 margin after three quarters of play.
In the fourth, Memphis took its first lead since the latter stages of the opening frame after Hamed Haddadi split a pair of free throws to make it 70-69 early in the stanza.
Los Angeles responded with a 13-2 burst, capped by Williams' left-wing triple to make it 82-72, midway through the fourth.
The resilient Grizzlies, though, punched back with an 11-1 swing a bit later, which concluded when Gay put in a short fadeaway in the paint, tying the game at 85-85 with 35 seconds left in the period.
Paul then drove in for a layup -- his only field goal of the fourth stanza -- before two Zach Randolph free throws knotted the score at 87-87 with 20 ticks to go in the frame.
Paul then kept the ball for the last shot, but lost his dribble as the horn sounded.
Memphis held a 20-5 advantage in second-chance points...Los Angeles shot 44.7 percent from the field, while Memphis finished at 43.4 percent...The Grizzlies outrebounded the Clippers 47-36...Los Angeles was 28-of-40 (70 percent) from the charity stripe.