Clippers stage wild comeback in Game 1...


Clippers stage wild comeback in Game 1...

From Comcast SportsNet

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) -- Chris Paul begged coach Vinny Del Negro to put him back into the game for the fourth quarter and not give up despite being down 21 points. The result was another Clippers comeback -- one of the greatest in NBA playoff history. Paul hit a pair of free throws with 23.7 seconds left, and the Clippers rallied from a deficit that had been as much as 27 to stun the Memphis Grizzlies 99-98 Sunday night in the opening game of their Western Conference series. The key, Paul said, is to keep believing. "Unfortunately, that's how we play," he said. "We get killed in the first three quarters and in the fourth quarter we like to try to stand up for ourselves, and we found a way to win tonight." The Clippers tied the NBA playoff record for largest deficit overcome at the end of three quarters, when they trailed by 21. "I don't think I've been part of a game like that ever," Clippers forward Blake Griffin said. "It was unbelievable." Rudy Gay missed a 15-footer with 0.9 seconds left after the Grizzlies squandered a lead they held for the first 47 minutes, with a 24-point cushion disappearing in about nine minutes. "Obviously, we gave it away, and everybody's kind of down," Gay said. "We're still into it. It's a long series, and we're ready to fight. That's all this means. We've got to fight hard." The Clippers lost Caron Butler to a broken left hand, and he said he thinks he caught his hand in Gay's jersey on a screen. Del Negro said other players will have to step up. Nick Young did just that, scoring 19 points off the bench with three 3-pointers in the midst of the Clippers' 26-1 run. Paul finished with 14 points while playing a team-high 38 minutes despite a groin injury that kept him out of the regular season finale against the Knicks. Griffin had 17 and Butler 12 before leaving the game. Young said he didn't even see the score, being on the court down the stretch for a change. He said he looked up late and saw they had a game when he started hitting his shots. "It's crazy. It's a blessing," Young said. "It shows how hard we fought. How we rallied together as a team, and just made stops down the end." Gay finished with 19 for Memphis. Mike Conley and O.J. Mayo had 17, and Marc Gasol scored 14. Game 2 is Wednesday night. The Clippers outscored the Grizzlies 35-13 in the fourth quarter, the most points in the final period by a Memphis opponent this season. Los Angeles also hit 13 of 17 from the floor, including 5 of 6 beyond the arc after hitting only one the first three quarters. The Grizzlies looked ready to roll as they ran out to a 20-point lead in the first quarter and were up by 27 twice in the third, the last on a pair of free throws by Mayo with 1:34 left. The Clippers finally got going in the fourth, as the Grizzlies looked like they shut it down way too soon. They had five turnovers in the fourth. Even though the Clippers had seven themselves, the Grizzlies looked lost as they just lost the ball going into the lane or put up shots that had no chance of going in. "We just got careless," Memphis coach Lionel Hollins said. "We just lost a little bit of our discipline from a defensive perspective. But offensively, we just started walking it up and trying to throw it into the post instead of running it in. We ran earlier. We attacked. We were in transition earlier. We just stopped doing that and got conservative and it cost us." Reggie Evans gave the Clippers their first lead at 97-96 when he scored inside with 58 seconds left. Gay answered with 28 seconds to go with a 10-foot jumper on the right baseline over Paul, ending a drought where the Grizzlies went nearly 9 minutes without a field goal. Tony Allen fouled Paul, sending him to the line for the clinching free throws. Boston came back from 21 down after three quarters against New Jersey on May 25, 2002. The Grizzlies had won six straight overall and the last 11 on their home floor to grab the No. 4 seed and start this series at home. Mayo said there would be no sleep until they fix what went wrong. "We turned something that we worked so hard for -- home-court advantage -- to an ugly loss in Game 1," Mayo said. "We've got to come back Game 2 with the attitude we can't quit." The Grizzlies seemed to be clicking all across the board. They even hit 11 of 16 from 3-point range after ranking 25th in the NBA this season beyond the arc at 34.5 percent. Against the Clippers, they opened by hitting their four. So did Conley, and he hit three straight, the last with 7:19 left in the third, putting the Grizzlies up 69-48. Memphis fans couldn't have been more ready for this chance to start the postseason at home with a sellout crowd on hand. With a good luck charm in a St. Jude patient singing the national anthem, fans had their free T-shirts on and waving the free towels before tipoff. The Grizzlies were ready too. They opened the game hitting their first five shots and seven of the first 10 in jumping out 15-6, forcing Del Negro to take a timeout. They quickly led by as much as 20 and had a 34-16 lead by the end of the first quarter, tying the most points scored this season in that period. This is the Clippers' first trip to the postseason since 2006. Paul has plenty of playoff experience with 23 games while in New Orleans, but this was the postseason debut for three starters -- Griffin, Randy Foye and DeAndre Jordan -- along with four of their teammates. Paul looked a little rusty in the first half with only one point and three assists, all in the first quarter. He sat out the Clippers' final game of the season with a strained groin, and Los Angeles lost that game to the Knicks along with the chance to start this series at home. Paul picked up his third foul with 6.5 seconds left in the first half. The Clippers made a run in the second quarter and got within 50-39. But after Gay missed a pull-up jumper, the Clippers had a shot clock violation. The Grizzlies scored the final eight points, the last on a dunk by Gasol just before the buzzer for a 58-39 halftime lead. Notes: The Grizzlies scored 34 in a quarter three other times. ... The Grizzlies went 17-1 when leading after the first and 16-1 when leading at halftime. The lone loss came in double overtime March 13 to the Lakers. ... The Grizzlies made nine 3-pointers twice during the season, the last on April 3 against Golden State.

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How the Redskins plan to stop A.J. Green if Josh Norman can't play

How the Redskins plan to stop A.J. Green if Josh Norman can't play

The Redskins may be forced to cover one of the best receivers in the NFL without one of the best corners in the NFL.

Coach Jay Gruden is very familiar with the receiver, the Bengals’ A.J. Green. Cincinnati drafted Green in the first round in 2011, Gruden’s first year as the offensive coordinator there. In three seasons with Gruden, Green averaged 87 receptions, 1,278 yards, and 10 touchdowns.

Green has done quite well in the wake of Gruden’s departure in 2014 to become the Redskins’ head coach. He is on pace for a career season, with 50 receptions for 775 yards through seven games. Stopping the Bengals offense means stopping, or at least slowing down, No. 18.

“A.J. is a different animal,” said Gruden. “You know, he is 6-foot-3-and-a-half, 6-foot-4. He’s very strong, and he’s got the ball tracking ability unlike anybody we’ve ever seen.”

The Redskins have just the guy to slow Green down under contract but Josh Norman’s status for the game is up in the air as he is in the NFL concussion protocol. The All-Pro cornerback will visit an independent neurologist later today. He may get clearance to make the trip to London with the team. But even if he does a setback of some sort could keep him out of the game.


If Norman can’t play, the Redskins will play a mix of coverages.

“A.J. has been pretty effective against just about any corner he’s ever gone against,” said Gruden.” And you have to do different things against him. You know, if you think we’re going to play Cover 0 with man-to-man the whole time, you’re going be really mistaken.

“We’re going to have to change up the coverages, figure out ways to beat him up a little bit at the line of scrimmage, and play a safety over the top from time to time, play a third, play somebody underneath him, and then play some man-to-man. We’re going to have to play some man-to-man eventually, whether it’s [Quinton] Dunbar, whether it’s [Bashaud] Breeland, [Greg] Toler, whoever it is if Norman doesn’t go.”

It sound like the Redskins are going to take a “kitchen sink” approach to covering Green or perhaps they haven’t yet figured out how to handle him.

Green is the best receiver the Redskins have faced since taking on Antonio Brown of the Steelers in the season opener. They had all offseason to try to figure out how to handle him and they had Norman but Brown still caught eight passes for 126 yards and two touchdowns. So maybe they have to try to figure out how to win even if Green goes off.

And this season’s results show that’s possible. The Bengals are 3-4 despite Green’s gaudy stats. So teams are figuring out some way to mitigate the damage that the star receiver inflicts on a regular basis.  

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Virginia and Idaho really love Ryan Kerrigan, apparently

Virginia and Idaho really love Ryan Kerrigan, apparently

Besides the fact that both have an "i" and an "a" in their names, there's not much in common on the surface between Idaho and Virginia. Thanks to a report from, though, the two states now share another similarity: A passion for Ryan Kerrigan.

Since the 2016 NFL Draft, Kerrigan's jersey tops the list of most popular in both states. Looking at Virginia, at least — where Washington's headquarters and training camp facility are located — that makes sense.

But Idaho? The defender wasn't born there, and he didn't play college football there. Perhaps (and this is a giant perhaps) it's because there are a lot of potatoes in Idaho, and potatoes go in sacks, and Kerrigan enjoys sacks, too. Until further explanation, that's the reasoning. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.

Other facts revealed in the report: People in Florida are dumb enough to buy a Ryan Tannehill jersey, those who live in Alaska are devout Julio Jones supporters (which is way more perplexing than the Idaho-Kerrigan love affair) and Hawaii should be punished, because the most popular uniform there is Seattle's obnoxious 12th fan jersey.

Here's the full graphic:

(H/T to