UK Men's Basketball

Clippers use three-guard lineup, including Bledsoe, to defeat Grizzlies in Game 1

Los Angeles Clippers guard Eric Bledsoe celebrates a basket as Memphis Grizzlies guard Jerryd Bayless looks on during the second half of Game 1 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series Los Angeles, Saturday, April 20, 2013.
Los Angeles Clippers guard Eric Bledsoe celebrates a basket as Memphis Grizzlies guard Jerryd Bayless looks on during the second half of Game 1 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series Los Angeles, Saturday, April 20, 2013. ASSOCIATED PRESS

LOS ANGELES — Chris Paul led seven players in double figures with 23 points, Eric Bledsoe had 15 and the Los Angeles Clippers beat the Memphis Grizzlies 112-91 on Saturday night.

Game 2 is Monday night at Staples Center.

The Grizzlies closed within a point early in the fourth on a three-pointer by former Clipper Keyon Dooling. Los Angeles answered with a 15-3 run to go up 92-79, equaling the 13-point lead it had in the first half. Bledsoe, the former Kentucky standout, opened and closed the spurt with layups as the reserves helped the Clippers outscore the Grizzlies 37-22 in the period.

"I think it's a unique thing to have the depth we have, so why not use it?" Coach Vinny Del Negro said of his reserves. "They deserve the right to be out there."

Bledsoe made all seven of his shots and also had six rebounds and four assists.

"He was built for series like this," teammate Jamal Crawford said about Bledsoe. "His toughness, his energy, his passion, the way he gets after it. He was good."

Del Negro explained his decision to stick with Bledsoe even when he already had two other guards — Paul and Chauncey Billups — in the game in the fourth quarter.

"I was just thinking Eric had a great stride to his step tonight, especially in that second half," Del Negro said. "He just had energy. It felt like it was contagious out there. I wanted to try to keep Bled's speed on (Mike) Conley as much as possible."

Paul thought the three-guard lineup worked well.

"It gives you almost like a three-headed monster," he said. "It almost took me back to my college days (at Wake Forest). ... Bled's that blur. He probably runs faster than me and Chauncey put together.

"I think it gave us a little more versatility. They didn't know who to guard."

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