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Game 2 rings sweeter for the Grizzlies

O.J. Mayo scores over Mo Williams of the Clippers. The Grizzlies bounced back and defeated the Clippers 105-98 (Photo by Warren Roseborough)

Memphis Grizzlies Head Coach Lionel Hollins walked onto the FedExForum floor wearing the Portland Trailblazers championship ring that he earned in his second year in the league.

 

Memphis Grizzlies Head Coach Lionel Hollins walked onto the FedExForum floor wearing the Portland Trailblazers championship ring that he earned in his second year in the league.

 
“I’d lost it, and I just found it. Somebody else found it and brought it to the game,” Hollins said Wednesday night, after the Grizz had engineered a 105-98 victory to square their NBA Playoffs opening-round series against the Los Angeles Clippers at one game each.

Grizzlies guard O.J. Mayo, a huge cog in the game-two win, knows the history of Hollins’ ring.

“They (Portland) were not the expected team, but they got it done,” said Mayo. “We feel the same way. We feel like we’re not the expected team, but we are a playoff team. We really worked hard and we feel like we have a chance.”

Grizzlies forward Rudy Gay jokingly labeled himself a ’80s baby unable to remember anything that occurred in the 1970s. Hollins played with the Portland Trailblazers from 1975-1980.

“I think he just wore that tonight to let us know that he’s been through it,” Gay said.  “He’s trying to keep us on the right page and keep us on the right path with what he’s teaching us.”

Sunday’s epic collapse in the fourth quarter notwithstanding, it was clear most Grizz fans still were on the bandwagon. A sold-out crowd jammed the FedExForum and saw the Grizzlies out-rebound the Clippers 37-28, with a 16-4 margin on the offensive glass. Memphis shot 79.5 percent from the free-throw line.

“We were very aggressive and we just kept attacking,” said Hollins.

“Well, too many offensive rebounds and too many turnovers,” said Clippers Head Coach Vinny Del Negro. “That’s what they (Memphis) live on, and we helped them a lot tonight.”

Los Angeles had a .567 shooting percentage, becoming the first team to lose in the playoffs with that high of a mark since the Orlando Magic lost to the Detroit Pistons on April 21, 2007 despite shooting .581 from the field.

The Grizzlies recorded 13 steals and forced the Clippers into 21 turnovers, with Memphis scoring 25 points off turnovers.

Gay led the Grizzlies for the second-straight game with 21 points. Mayo followed with 20, scoring 10 in the final frame.

“We definitely – after Game 1 – understood that our focus for the entire 48 minutes was important, and I thought we played well down the stretch,” said Mayo.

Grizz guard Mike Conley finished with 19 points and was 11 of 12 from the line.

“We kept attacking and getting into the paint area,” Conley said.  “We made good decisions with the basketball and we didn’t turn it over down the stretch.”

Clippers guard Chris Paul led all scorers with 29 points. Blake Griffin added 22.

Paul put the blame on turnovers.

“That was a huge difference, and it’s my fault,” Paul said.  “I turned the ball over way too much. I’ve got to figure out how to get them (the Grizz) off of me.”

Game three is Saturday (May 5) at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

 

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