(The Sports Xchange) – – -Point guard Chris Paul scored eight of his 15 points after the Golden State Warriors had closed to within one with 4:24 to play, lifting the Los Angeles Clippers to a 98-96 win in Game 3 of the Western Conference first-round series.
The Clippers, who lost Game 1 at home last Saturday, have a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series.
The Clippers led by as many as 18 points in the third quarter and by 11 to begin the fourth, but they found themselves clinging to an 87-86 lead after Warriors shooting guard Klay Thompson scored inside with 4:24 to play.
Power forward Blake Griffin, the Clippers’ leading scorer with 32 points, dropped in a tough jumper from the right corner to increase the margin to three, and Paul took over from there.
The veteran nailed a 15-footer with 3:18 to go and then a three-pointer with 2:40 left to push the Clippers’ advantage to 94-86.
Paul added three free throws in four attempts down the stretch as the Clippers held on for the narrow win.
Thompson led the Warriors with 26 points.
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Grizzlies 98, Thunder 95 (OT)
The Memphis Grizzlies won their second straight overtime game, 98-95, over the Oklahoma City Thunder at FedExForum to go up 2-1 in their first-round Western Conference playoff series.
The Thunder trailed by 17 points with fewer than eight minutes to play in regulation. They then went on a 17-0 run, tying the game 81-81 with 57 seconds to play on Westbrook’s three-pointer.
Memphis went up 85-81 when Allen picked Westbrook’s pocket and went in for a layup with 33 seconds to play.
But the game went into overtime on a four-point play by Westbrook, who was fouled by Allen while sinking a three-pointer and hit the free throw to make it 85-85.
Point Guard Mike Conley sparked the Grizzlies in overtime, scoring five straight points on a three-pointer and layup to give Memphis a 92-88 lead.
Conley led the Grizzlies with 20 points and power forward Zach Randolph recorded 16 points, 10 rebounds and a team-high six assists.
Thunder forward Kevin Durant scored 30 points and added nine rebounds and five blocks. Guard Russell Westbrook finished with 30 points and 13 rebounds.
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Hawks 98, Pacers 85
The Atlanta Hawks pulled away in the final minutes of a 98-85 win in front of inspired crowd at Philips Arena to lead the best-of-seven first-round playoff series 2-1 against the top-seeded Indiana Pacers.
Pacers forward Lance Stephenson hit a three-pointer to cut the Atlanta Hawks’ lead to four with 7:30 to play in the fourth quarter and followed it up by forcing a turnover on Atlanta’s next possession, but slipped and lost the ball out of bounds.
It’s been that kind of stretch for the unraveling Pacers and the upstart Hawks took full advantage.
Atlanta guard Kyle Korver converted a four-point play after Stephenson’s mishandle, swishing a three-pointer and hitting the ensuing free throw, and the Hawks pulled away.
Atlanta hit 10 of their 12 three-pointers in the second half.
The eighth-seeded Hawks are looking to become the sixth No. 8 seed to win their first-round playoff series.
Korver finished 20 points, and Teague led all scorers with 22 points.
The Pacers got sub-par performances from their top playmakers. Forward Paul George got in early foul trouble and didn’t score in the first half. He finished with 16 points and 14 rebounds, but scored just three points in the fourth quarter.