The Memphis Grizzlies came into the Staples Center on Wednesday night with a game plan and executed it to perfection. In doing so, they managed to outlast the Los Angeles Clippers, beating them 111-107.
This victory for the Grizzlies moves them above .500 to 6-5 and ends the Clippers seven-game winning streak, as they know sit at 10-2.
Los Angeles’ starters did not have the best of games. Sure, Blake Griffin put up 25 points and JJ Redick hit seven second half three pointers to give him 29. That was not enough. Chris Paul had a horrid night from the floor, making only three shot attempts.
Memphis came out of the gates with a purpose and looked to enforce their game plan early and often. They defended the Clippers hard, making them take contested shots all over the place.
The first quarter is usually when the Clippers begin to assert their dominance over the opposition. Their starters are able to get easy, high-percentage shots. That was not the case tonight. At the first quarter though, the Clippers still came away with a 28-26 advantage.
Memphis gets big second quarter lead
It was in the second quarter, where the Clippers bench has usually been so strong, fell apart.
Mike Conley scored five quick points to make it 37-30. Then, he sunk a shot from long range to extend Memphis’ lead to double-digits. Eventually, the Grizzlies took a 15 point advantage into the locker room.
After halftime, Doc Rivers’ squad began to fight back. They had a large deficit to overcome, and little by little, they did just that. Redick began to find his stroke as the Clipper defense clamp down on the Grizzlies. After Luc Mbah A Moute stole the ball, Redick splashed home a three to trim the lead to merely six points. Memphis though, managed to fight through the Clippers surgers to maintain their seven point lead when the third period came to a close.
Jamal Crawford capped off a five-point run to start the fourth with a jump shot from inside the arc to make the score 83-82 in favor of the Grizzlies. Then, Marc Gasol tipped in a Vince Carter miss to push the lead back to three. With the bench still in, the Grizzlies started to sustain their advantage, giving them a slight edge.
But late in the game, with Memphis trailing, Marc Gasol played a big part in two plays: one on the defensive end and the other on offense. On a Clippers in bound play, Jamal Crawford attempted to throw a pass from a corner. Gasol stole the inbounds throw to give possession back to his team.
The Spanish big man played a pivotal role in this game, outside of those two plays. He led both sides with 30 points, making just under half of his attempts from the field, going 10-21.
Then head coach David Fizdale drew up a play designed for Gasol. Mike Conley dribbled into the paint before finding Gasol in the left corner. Gasol proceeded to hit his fourth three-pointer of the night, giving his team the lead for good.
Hopefully this win will give the Grizzlies a new-found confidence going forward. Memphis will look to keep their winning streak going when they face take on the Dallas Mavericks on the road this Friday night.
Meanwhile, the Clippers know that this is just one bump in the road. Their two losses this season have combined for six points. There will be no rest for Rivers’ men as they take on the Sacramento Kings on Friday as well.