Chris Paul had 14 points and seven assists in the first half to lead the Los Angeles Clippers to a 50-46 lead over the Memphis Grizzlies at halftime of Game 3 of their first round NBA playoff series at Staples Center in Los Angeles. The series is tied at 1-1.
Paul made 5-of-10 shots in the first half. Blake Griffin added 12 points and two rebounds for the Clippers, and had a steal and a buzzer-beating dunk to end the half for a four-point lead. Mo Williams added eight points off the bench, including a pair of three-pointers.
Saturday is the first home playoff game for the Clippers in six years. Los Angeles led 23-22 after one quarter despite getting outrebounded by Memphis nine to five in the opening 12 minutes. The Clippers used an 18-1 run from the end of the first quarter into the second, largely with reserves on the floor, to open up a lead.
The Clippers led by as many as 13 points in the first half, but that lead was temporarily erased with a 13-0 run by the Grizzlies.
Caron Butler started for the Clippers after missing just one game with a broken left hand, an injury that would normally take weeks to heal. Butler scored two points in 14 minutes in the first half for the Clippers, who shot 51.4% (19 for 37) in the opening half.
Zach Randolph had 11 points and three rebounds for the Grizzlies, who shot 44.1% (15 for 34) in the first half. Randolph scored seven of his 11 points in the first quarter. Quincy Pondexter scored 11 points off the bench for Memphis.
Things were getting a little chippy, especially late in the second quarter. Griffin for the Clippers and Marreese Speights for Memphis were each assessed technical fouls in the first half, and Griffin and Randolph had to be separated after getting tangled up in the second period. Marc Gasol, meanwhile, summed up the general attitude of the first half after getting called for a foul.