Game #20 | December 5, 2013
Fedex Forum | Memphis, TN

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MEMPHIS – DeAndre Jordan swatted away Zach Randolph’s fade away jumper along the baseline with just under seven minutes to go Thursday night in Memphis and watched Darren Collison and Jamal Crawford race up the floor ahead.

The play ended in free throws for Collison. It was indicative of most of the second half for the Clippers, a stop leading to something positive offensively.

After 24 minutes that, for the most part, on offense mirrored their loss a night earlier, the Clippers looked inspired after halftime and turned a four-point deficit into a runaway, 101-81, victory over the Grizzlies at FedEx Forum.

The game does not eradicate the demons of losing three times in the same building in the Playoffs a year ago, but it helps erase the sting of a 10-point loss to Atlanta in game one of their seven-game road trip a night earlier.

“We’re definitely capable of not only playing defense, but good defense,” Blake Griffin said. “This game couldn’t have come at a better time because we wanted to get that feeling off our back.”

Griffin scored 14 points with nine rebounds and five assists, Jordan grabbed a game-high 14 rebounds with 10 points and three blocks while guarding Randolph almost exclusively. And the Clippers’ bench tilted the game against a banged up Grizzlies team, outscoring the Grizzlies, 50-31.

While the bench helped the Clippers (13-7) run away from Memphis (9-9), going 7-for-12 (58.3 percent) from 3-point range, it was the defense that set the tone.

They changed the game in the third quarter, closing it on a 22-7 run that was predicted by defensive stops and getting up the floor. By the fourth quarter they led by as many as 24 points and ultimately held Memphis to 37.7 percent shooting, a season-low for a Clippers’ opponent.

“All I talked about at halftime was zero adjustments, keep doing what you’re doing,” said Clippers head coach Doc Rivers, who earned his 600th career coaching victory. “Eventually, I said, ‘Guys they’re a good defensive team. We’re going to find something. We’ve just got to keep searching. We’re going to find something that works.’”

What worked was holding a Grizzlies team absent Marc Gasol (knee) and Tony Allen (hip) and with Randolph slowed by an ingrown toenail to 11 third-quarter points and just 13 field goals in the second half. Rivers credited Jordan and Griffin with leading the effort.

“It was great,” Rivers said. “I thought those guys (Jordan and Griffin) fought down low. I just thought their leadership defensively was why we won the game.”

The first half was a different story. It was the kind of messy brand of basketball that the Grizzlies would have asked for, especially without their All-Star center. Both teams struggled to reach 40 percent shooting, the Clippers scored a season-low 40 points for any half, there were free throws and fouls and missed layups.

Perhaps it was the icy forecast outside, perhaps the fits of a game in early December with the Clippers on a back-to-back and missing Matt Barnes (eye) and J.J. Redick (hand/wrist).

The Clippers looked their best during a brief stretch in the last 4:13 of the second quarter. Paul nailed a runner to make it 34-31 and after he popped the ball loose from Randolph and Griffin batted it ahead, Paul found Jamal Crawford for a fast-break layup. A reverse layup by Willie Green gave Los Angeles its first lead 23 minutes into the game, but back-to-back 3-point plays by Randolph and Kosta Koufos erased it nearly as quickly as they got it.

But they entered the half down just two and after a few back-and-forth possessions to start the third were seemingly ignited by a flagrant foul on Jerryd Bayless, who used his forearm to knock Griffin to the floor on a ball screen. The Clippers scored 10 of the next 11 points following the foul.

“I thought the way we responded was good,” Griffin said. “There are challenges mentally and physical and I thought that we were mentally tough in that situation. The flagrant gave us two free throws and the ball back and we took that to our advantage.”

Griffin made it 46-44 after hitting both free throws, and Memphis scored just seven points in the final 9:25 of the period.


Griffin has made 12 free throws in a row and is shooting 75.9 percent from the line in his last five games... Jamison had 11 points and moved within six of reaching 20,000 for his career… Jordan is second in the NBA with 14 games with at least a dozen rebounds. Kevin Love leads the league with 15 such games… The Clippers are 35-0 since 2012-13 when holding an opponent to 42 percent or worse from the field… Mike Conley scored a team-high 16 points for Memphis and Randolph had 12 points and 12 rebounds but turned the ball over seven times and made just four of his 13 shots… Paul had 15 points, eight assists and two steals in 27:07. He remained on the bench in the fourth quarter when the lead remained in double digits…





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Doc Rivers

Clippers head coach Doc Rivers on defense of Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan:

“We told Blake and D.J. there’s no help coming. We’re not going to go down there and trap and if you guard them we’ll win and if you don’t we won’t. And I said there would be no traps tonight and they were great.”



Clippers guard Chris Paul on maintaining a consistent defensive performance:

“It would be one thing if we knew we weren’t capable of it or didn’t have the body or people to execute it. But we do. We have young, athletic capable guys.”


Clippers guard Willie Green on the team’s defense in the second half:

“We just stopped worrying about our offense and we knew we had confidence coming in because we were down two and didn’t play our best game in the first half. We didn’t play our best game in the second half. We hit a few more shots, but our defense was better. We just got stops, ran, and consequently we were able to win the game.”


Clippers forward Antawn Jamison on making three 3-pointers after struggling recently to shoot the ball:

“As soon as we landed in Memphis, I forgot all about that game. Today was a mental day, just mentally getting myself ready, doing the little things. Really concentrating on my shot and not moving it and just standing up and down. Once that first one went down I was like, ‘Aww, here we go. That basket it is there.’”


Grizzlies forward Zach Randolph on the game:

“When they started hitting shots, 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. Jamal Crawford was hitting shots. Jared Dudley was hitting shots. Their bench players were coming off the bench and hitting shots. That team has a lot of good players.”


By: Ben Haber | Follow @HaberBen

“The road trip isn’t starting as the Clippers hoped,” Clippers play-by-play announcer Ralph Lawler said in the waning minutes of the team’s 107-97 loss in Atlanta Wednesday night.

Long road trips usually entail ups and downs. The Clippers (12-7) already experienced a rough part, yet sound determined to turn it around Thursday in Memphis.

Doc Rivers wasn’t overly worried about the disappointing effort, although he said falling in the first game of a road trip is not ideal.

“Because you’re 0-1 on the trip,” he said. “You win tomorrow and you’re 1-1 and you’re back at it. You never want to lose your first one, but we did. We just got to get ready for [Thursday].”

The Grizzlies (9-8) cruised by the Phoenix Suns 110-91 on Tuesday. But it was just their second win since reigning Defensive Player of the Year Marc Gasol sustained an MCL sprain in his left knee in the beginning of their Nov. 22 game against the Spurs. Memphis is 2-3 overall since Gasol went down.

Clippers forward Jared Dudley believes the Clippers shouldn’t adjust based on Gasol’s absence.

“For us, we can’t really do anything about them,” Dudley said. “We have to play our game, which is attacking them, putting the ball in transition and holding down the defensive rebounds.”


Jamal Crawford vs. Tony Allen



Crawford is known for his prolific scoring. Allen is known for his lockdown defense. Both players are nearly polar opposites, yet both are integral pieces to their teams’ success.

Crawford scores buckets in countless ways: ankle-breaking crossovers, knocking down contested jumpers, hitting from long range and more. Allen embraces the challenge of marking opponents like Crawford because of his rare ability to stick with them. The common ground for them is lining up at shooting guard, meaning they will be matched up often.

In the earlier season game between the Clippers and Grizzlies, Allen got the best of Crawford. The potential Sixth Man of the Year only scored eight points and went 3-for-11 from the field. He was not only guarded by Allen, but at times long-armed wing Quincy Pondexter, who has sat out the three of the past four games with DNP-CDs.

In six games during last year’s playoffs, Allen helped hold Crawford to 10.8 points per game and just 22 in three games combined in Memphis.

Crawford and Allen are going to be asked to do even more because of each side’s injuries. Over the last three games, two of which have been without guard J.J. Redick (wrist/hand), Crawford dropped 64 points and saw increased minutes.

Does great offense beat great defense, or vice versa? We may find out Thursday.


1. First-quarter scoring. The first quarter hasn’t treated the Clippers well in their previous three contests, getting outscored in all three frames by a total of 88-66. In the three games prior, dating back to last week, the Clippers outscored opponents 89-64 in the opening 12 minutes. The sluggish starts have forced L.A. to climb uphill. On the season, the category has actually been one of their strengths, ranking sixth in the NBA in first-quarter points (26.5). On the flip side, Memphis is 29th in the league in first-quarter points (22.0).

2. Adjustments to injuries. J.J. Redick, Matt Barnes, Gasol and Zach Randolph have all been sidelined recently. Redick (wrist), Barnes (eye) and Gasol (knee) are not going to suit up. According to Memphis Commercial Appeal, Randolph expects to return to the starting lineup against the Clippers. The Grizzlies starting power forward exited early on Nov. 27 because of an ingrown toenail and sat out the two games since.

Losing Redick has hurt the Clippers, especially from 3-point range, as he connects on those shots 35.9 percent of the time. Rivers relies on Redick to space the floor. Against the Hawks on Wednesday, long distance shooting was an issue. They made just 21.1 percent of their attempts via 4-for-19.

“Obviously it hurts not having J.J. but Willie [Green] can shoot the lights out.” Blake Griffin said.

For the Grizzlies, the production from Gasol isn’t getting matched by reserve center Kosta Koufos. But Koufos has come close, earning double-doubles in the past two games.

“I mean it’s a similar system they still run,” Dudley said. “Koufos is someone who started for Denver, it’s not this guy has never played. Gasol, I think they miss his high-low passing. Koufos brings energy, brings toughness. And they have other guys who can step up a little bit more.”

3. Back-to-backs. The Clippers are probably glad they have no time to sit around and reflect on the Hawks. Less than 24 hours after the loss, Chris Paul, Griffin and Co. are right back at it against the Grizzlies. The Clippers are 2-2 in the second game of back-to-backs this season and have been on the losing end and winning end of sweeps. The most recent attempt was the successful attempt, defeating the Sacramento Kings and Chicago Bulls. They are 5-3 overall in back-to-back scenarios.


Rivers is still one win away from No. 600 for his career…  Thursday will be the 22nd time the two teams have played each other since Jan. 26, 2012, including 13 first-round Playoff games in the last two seasons… Paul and Allen are both top in the NBA in steals per game, ranking third and fifth, respectively… Griffin had the second triple-double of his career on Apr. 13, 2011 against the Grizzlies, accumulating 31 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists… The Clippers are 0-1 against the Grizzlies in 2013 and have lost five in a row to them dating back to last season’s playoff exit…


Mon. November 18 | Clippers 102, Grizzlies 106
Thurs. December 5 | Clippers at Grizzlies
Fri. February 21 | Clippers at Grizzlies



Clippers Leaders:
Pts: Griffin 24
Ast: Paul 11
Reb: Jordan 13

Last Time Out




Grizzlies Leaders:
Pts: Leuer 23
Ast: Conley 14
Reb: Davis/Koufos 12