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Second-half meltdown by Grizz lifts Clippers to win

  • Written by Kelley Evans
  • Published in Original

IMG-Mike-1607 600For Memphis Grizzlies players, joining the sick and shut in does not come as a surprise. Tony Allen and Ed Davis have now been added to the injury list.

After recently losing center Marc Gasol (left MCL sprain) and Zach Randolph (toe injury), Allen missed Thursday's home game (Dec. 5) against the Los Angeles Clippers with a hip contusion. In the second quarter of the match-up, Davis left with a left ankle sprain and did not return.

The Grizzlies fell to the Clippers 101-81 in front of a crowd of 15,112. But it wasn't a lack of effort or energy that caused the loss. At least Randolph doesn't think so.



IMG Davis_Block_1484"I don't think we had lack of energy," Randolph said. "I think we just dropped our heads. I think the energy was there. We played hard in the first half. In the second half they started hitting shots. "

IMG Glenn_Doc_Rivers_2682Now leading the Grizz-Clippers all-time series, Los Angeles has won five consecutive games in FedExForum. The Grizzlies have not won when facing the Clippers at home since April 9, 2012 (94-85).

"It was tough for us tonight, " said Grizzlies head coach Dave Joerger. "I was proud of our guys; I thought we fought really hard. Once they really got into us and pressured us in the second half, we kind of hesitated and got out of whack. Hats off to them."

IMG NM_1413The two teams are accustomed to battle and Thursday's game was no different. Technical fouls were called on players and Joerger and there was plenty of "sucker" shoves on both sides that were not called.

The Grizzlies stayed in the game throughout the first half and ended the session up by two (42-40).

The Clippers got it rolling after the break, ending the period ahead by 11 points (64-53). They got a season-high 50 points from the bench.

Memphis held on to a 46-42 lead with 9:47 left to finish the third quarter until Los Angeles went on a 19-3 run. The Clippers led by as many as 24 points, with the Grizzlies' biggest lead at eight.

There were only three lead changes in the contest and the two teams tied the game five times. Memphis fell to 4-6 at home this season.
Memphis center Kosto Koufos led all players with 17 points. Randolph returned with 12 points and 12 rebounds. Mike Conley scored 16 points and had four assists. Quincy Pondexter played off the Grizz bench with 15 points after missing the last game against the Phoenix Suns due to disciplinary actions.

"Losing everyone has been tough," Koufos said. "At the same time, Jon Leuer has been playing great. Zach Randolph is coming back. We just have to keep stepping up and taking care of one another."

Chris Paul, Jamal Crawford and Darren Collison all put up 15 points for the Clippers. Antawn Jamison scored 11 points.

"In the first half we couldn't have missed any more easy shots," said Clippers head coach Doc Rivers. "We were frustrated and guys are yelling. I just said, 'Guys this is good. We are struggling and this is still a two-point game. If we start making shots the game will break our way.'"

And that's what happened.

Rivers is now the 23rd head coach in NBA history to reach the 600-win mark.

"It means I've been around a lot," Rivers said of the accolade. "It means I've been lucky enough to coach some really good players. It really does and that's about it. That's not what I'm chasing."

NOTE: The Grizzlies will face the Golden State Warriors on Saturday, Dec. 7 at FedExForum.

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