Memphis, TN – There was no heroic comeback this time around.
Rudy Gay led six players in double figures with 21 points and Memphis kept the Clippers at arm's length down the stretch, claiming a 105-98 Game 2 victory to even the best-of-seven Western Conference quarterfinals series.
O.J. Mayo scored 20 points off the bench, Mike Conley posted 19 points and six assists and Zach Randolph added 15 points and eight rebounds.
The Grizzlies, who entered the playoffs on an 11-game winning streak and finished 26-7 at home during the regular season, appeared on their way to a Game 1 rout before a stunning collapse that gave the visitors the improbable comeback from a 27-point deficit.
"We got punched in the mouth in the first game and we came back tonight and we withstood took some blows...Fortunately we were able to get a win," Memphis head coach Lionel Hollins said.
There was no such theater on Wednesday, as Memphis answered every call, holding a lead no smaller than four in the final quarter. Chris Paul's four- point play brought the Clippers within 83-79, but Memphis answered with six straight to create some breathing room.
Paul and Blake Griffin accounted for a large chunk of the Clippers' offense, scoring 29 and 22 points respectively. Paul also dished out six assists and picked up five steals, while Griffin grabbed nine rebounds in the loss.
"We need some more consistent scoring from more guys besides our two guys (Paul and Griffin," Clippers head coach Vinny Del Negro said.
The Clippers return home to host Game 3 on Saturday.
The game played out just like Game 1 to a degree through three quarters, but this time Memphis made enough plays to maintain its edge.
Memphis led by nine at 82-73 after five straight from Mayo, but the Clippers whittled the margin to 83-79 after Paul drained a three as he was hit and made the subsequent free throw. The Grizzles, unlike Game 1, didn't let the Clippers continue a scoring stretch, answering with Conley's running shot and Mayo's three for an 88-79 lead with just over 7 1/2 minutes to go.
The Clippers got within five in the closing seconds, but the Grizzlies made their foul shots in crunch time.
The Clippers scored six of the game's first seven points and jumped out to a 10-3 edge on Griffin's jumper with just over seven minutes to go in the period. Los Angeles held the lead for the rest of the stanza, but Memphis did trim the deficit to 26-23 by quarter's end on Mayo's two free throws in the closing seconds.
It didn't take the Grizzlies long to push in front at 31-30 on Mayo's two free throws, and the margin grew to 45-39 thanks to Marc Gasol's layup with just under four minutes to go in the half. Gasol again hit the stat sheet with two free throws for a 51-47 lead at the half.
The third quarter belonged to Gay, who scored 10 points in the period and added on to his clean shooting night with a wide array of shot attempts. He made his first seven shots of the game, including a jumper for a 61-54 lead with just under eight minutes to go in the period. His turnaround bucket in the closing seconds kept the Grizzles in front by two possessions, 75-69, entering the fourth quarter.
Mo Williams and Nick Young each scored 11 points in the loss....The Clippers made 56.7 percent of their shots. That was the highest shooting percentage from a playoff loser since Orlando at Detroit in the 2007 playoffs...Tony Allen chipped in with 10 points, Marreese Speights donated 11 points and five boards and Gasol scored eight points with seven rebounds in the win...Memphis was the aggressor, holding a 46-38 edge in the paint and making 13 more free throws (31) than the Clippers attempted (18)...Reggie Evans, one of the heroes of Game 1, didn't score and grabbed just one rebound in over 15 1/2 minutes for the Clippers.