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Posted May 2, 2013



By William Larsha, Jr., Columnist/Sports Reporter

The Mid-South Tribune and the Black Information Highway



MEMPHIS, TN-  The Memphis Grizzlies advanced to the NBA playoffs for the third year in a row and for the second straight year are battling the Los Angeles Clippers. This year's series began in Los Angeles and stated of rough for the Grizzlies. The team lost Game 1 112-91 in what amounted to a blowout. They played much better in game 2, but still fell to the Clippers 91-91 on a last second miracle shot by Clippers superstar Chris Paul.


On April 25, the series shifted to Memphis for Game 3. This was a must win game for the Grizzlies as the team did not want to go down three games to none. No team in NBA history has ever come back from a 3-0 deficit to win a Playoff series. The Grizzlies played hard defense and went to their bread and butter, the inside games of big men Marc Gasol and Zack Randolf to pull out a 94-82 victory. Randolph turned in a monster performance with 27 points and 11 rebounds. After the game, Grizzlies forward Quincy Poindexter said, "Zach has brilliant plays. He's like the best power forward in the league." 


In game 4 the following Saturday, the Grizzlies and Clippers played a close first half. In the second half, the Grizzlies two big men proved to be too much for the Clippers. Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph scored 24 points each to lead the team to a 104-83 blowout victory tying the series at two games each.


The series then shifted back to L.A. for the pivotal game 5. In NBA history, the winner of game 5 goes on to win the series 83% of the time. In this game , Clippers all star forward Blake Griffin played with a sprained ankle he suffered in practice and was forced to leave the game after the third quarter. But this one was all about Zach Randolph, who in Griffin's limited availability, scored 25 points and grabbed 11 rebounds leading the Grizzlies to a 103-93 crucial win. Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins commented on the performance by saying "Zach took over and carried us with big plays." 

The Grizzlies now lead the series 3-2 and have taken home court advantage with the next game in Memphis where they will have the chance to close out the series. If they do, they will have won four in a row against the Clippers and advance to the second round of the playoffs for the second time in team history.