The Los Angeles Clippers certainly kept things interesting in their opening-round series in the 2012 NBA Playoffs. Things came right down to the wire in enemy territory, but the Clips managed to pick up a win in Game 7 and advance to the next round.
You have to give the Clippers a tremendous amount of credit in this game. I've said all along that the type of game the officials call would have a big impact on this series -- the tighter they call it, it favors the Clippers more, the looser they call and more contact they allow, it favors the bruising style of the Grizzlies. Well, this was probably the most physical game of what has been a very physical series, drawing continually commentary from Mike Breen and Jeff Van Gundy in the ABC broadcast, yet the Clippers came out on top.
So it's a huge win, a rare Game 7 road win, the first Game 7 win in franchise history, and they avoid the ignominy that would have come with squandering a 3-1 series lead. The Clippers lost home court advantage in the first round by losing their final two regular season games -- and then they went 2-2 in four games in Memphis, winning Games 1 and 7 on the road. That's clutch.
The Clippers will face a much tougher opponent in the Western Conference semifinals, as they go up against the San Antonio Spurs.