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NBA: Clippers rout Grizzlies, Nuggets edge Warriors

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Chris Paul scored 23 points and handed out seven assists Saturday as the Los Angeles Clippers downed the Memphis Grizzlies 112-91 in the first game of their NBA playoff first-round series.

Eric Bledsoe scored 13 of his 15 points for Los Angeles in the final quarter, when the Clippers connected on 15-of-22 from the field and out-scored the Grizzlies 37-22.

Seven Clippers players scored in double-figures as Los Angeles doused the Grizzlies' hopes of getting off to a fast start in their bid to avenge a seven-game, Western Conference first-round loss to Los Angeles last year.

Jerryd Bayless scored 19 points off the bench for the Grizzlies, who also received 16 points and seven assists from Marc Gasol. But the Clippers out-rebounded the Grizzlies 47-23.

The Pacific Division champion Clippers, seeded fourth in the Western Conference, led by just one point after Grizzlies reserve Keyon Dooling drained a three-pointer to pull within 77-76 with 10:11 remaining.

Clippers reserve Bledsoe then drove for a layup to launch a 7-0 scoring run as Los Angeles thwarted every Memphis attempt to rally.

The day's other Western Conference contest was a nail-biter, with veteran guard Andre Miller scoring the game-winning layup with 1.2 seconds left to lift the Denver Nuggets to a 97-95 win over the Golden State Warriors in the first game of their best-of-seven series.

The 37-year-old Miller clinched the home win for the Nuggets in Denver, as he beat Warriors defender Draymond Green one-on-one then sailed through the air to finish off the nifty shot.

Miller drove left then shifted right to throw off Green, 23, who couldn't stay with the crafty veteran.

Miller said some much needed time off and whirlpool baths during the break between the end of the regular season on Wednesday and the playoffs helped him maintain his intensity throughout Saturday's playoff thriller.

"The coach gave me a couple days of rest," he said. "We had a couple of light practices so I did some icing and some jacuzzi, and it helped out there down the stretch."

Warriors star Stephen Curry drained a three pointer to level the score with just 14 seconds left in the fourth in front of a crowd of 19,155.

But as good as he was, Curry couldn't outdo Miller, who finished with a game-high 28 points for the Nuggets. Denver earned their 24th straight win at home.

Ty Lawson had 12 points, while Wilson Chandler finished with 11 points and 13 rebounds for the third-seeded Nuggets.

Evan Fournier started for Denver in place of forward Kenneth Faried, who is suffering from a left ankle injury and did not play. Fournier had 11 points.

Game two of the best-of-seven series is slated for Tuesday in Denver.

"Both teams have got to go back to the drawing board. It could have gone either way tonight so we have got to be better prepared on Tuesday," Miller said.

Klay Thompson had 22 points, while Curry added 19 points and nine assists for sixth seeded Golden State.

David Lee added 10 points and 14 rebounds for the Warriors before hobbling out of the game in the fourth quarter with an apparent hip injury -- a blow for a Warriors team in the playoffs for the first time since the 2006-07 season.

bb/ao

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130421/nba-clippers-rout-grizzlies-nuggets-edge-warriors