Los Angeles was led by Blake Griffin's 20 points, 10 boards, and 5 assists. Chris Paul also contributed 19 points and 13 assists in the winning effort.
The key to the Clippers' victory was a pesky defense that produced 8 steals, multiple deflections, and 16 Grizzlies' turnovers. As a result, the Clippers built an early double-digit lead and were never seriously threatened for the remainder of the game.
Caron Butler set the tone early, jumping into the passing lane for a steal and breakaway dunk to give LA a 13-7 lead with 6:47 left in the first quarter.
Chris Paul then put his stamp on the game, juking Marc Gasol for a pretty layup and later feeding Griffin a nice bounce pass for an emphatic left-handed dunk to put the Clippers up 28-17.
Another defensive stop and pass deflection by the Clippers led to a Nick Young bucket in transition, and a 30-17 advantage. After a Chris Paul steal on Memphis' next possession, a Bobby Simmons' buzzer-beating trey punctuated the quarter with the Clippers in solid command of a 33-17 lead.
The Clippers would maintain their double-digit edge for the remainder of the contest.
In the third quarter, Memphis made a brief rally, as Rudy Gay's three brought the Grizzlies to within 61-51. However, back-to-back Randy Foye treys quickly restored order, giving LA a 69-53 advantage.
Apparently, a little home cooking was all LA needed to put their ugly losing streak behind them, as five Clippers -- Griffin, Paul, Butler, Young, and Foye -- scored in double-figures to lead a balanced attack.
More importantly, LA played with a greater intensity and determination than their opponents, as CP3 and Griffin both passionately argued over several controversial calls and played with tremendous energy.
Meanwhile, the Grizzlies struggled across-the-board, shooting only 42% for the game, with no player scoring more than Zach Randolph's paltry team-high 14 points.
Los Angeles improved to 27-21 with the win, and will next face New Orleans at home. Memphis has lost 6 of its last 8 games, and will play the Lakers Sunday at Staples Center.
News and Notes
- Clippers reserve Mo Williams did not play due to an injured toe.
- In fourth quarter garbage time, Clipper big man Reggie Evans grabbed nice offensive rebound while laying flat on his back on the floor.
- Chris Paul has recorded at least one steal in 52 consecutive games.
- Nick Young displayed the scoring prowess Clipper brass expected when they traded for him, as he put up 16 points on a variety of shots, including a beautiful 360-degree spinning layup near the end of the fourth quarter.
By Mike Elliott
Staff Editor for The Daily Sports Herald