Game #16
STAPLES Center | Los Angeles, CA
January 26, 2012 | 7:30 PM (PST)
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TEAM 1 2 3 4 FINAL
17 27 28 19 91
29 16 29 24 98

LOS ANGELES — The Clippers and Grizzlies, playing the parts of the Stars and Tams, unveiled ABA throwback uniforms for their Thursday night matchup, evoking memories of professional basketball some 40 years ago.

The walk down memory lane stopped there for the Clippers. There was no recollection of the bad memories of the recent past as the Clippers didn’t let a trailing opponent get back in the game. They took a slim lead into the fourth quarter and didn’t give it up, shutting the door on the Grizzlies and winning, 98-91.

From Eric Patten: Williams Provides Spark in 2nd Half
The Clippers (10-6) did it on the second night of a back-to-back at Staples Center, coming off a loss to the Lakers on Wednesday, and they played sluggish through much of the second quarter. But they committed just four turnovers in the second half after turning it over 14 times before halftime, cleaning up their play as the game went on. The same couldn’t be said of their last few games.

“We never found our rhythm tonight,” Clippers head coach Vinny Del Negro said. “Everything was a grind. But we found a way. It was a different type of game, but you learn a lot about your team.”

There was some semblance of rhythm early, when the Clippers jumped out to a 16-point first quarter lead. But it took nearly four minutes for the Clippers to score a point in the second quarter, and by then the Grizzlies had made it a game.

Chris Paul helped the Clippers survive despite their sloppy play. When he took a seat at the end of the first quarter, the Grizzlies (10-8) rolled off 15 straight points, including a running half-court shot from Rudy Gay to end the first quarter.

When he was on the court -- his second game back from a hamstring injury – Paul’s presence was as vital as his absence hurtful. He played 35 minutes a night after being limited to 26, putting up 18 points, seven rebounds and seven assists. Paul’s plus/minus of plus-18 was the highest for the game.

Still, Paul was a little irked that the Clippers let the Grizzlies back into the game. Though he was held out of games against the Nets, Mavericks and Timberwolves, all games in which the Clippers blew fourth-quarter leads, he didn’t want a repeat of Wednesday’s collapse against the Lakers.

“It’s frustrating to let them back into it like that,” Paul said. “In this league, it’s not over until it’s over, and we can’t let teams back into it like that.”

The game turned into a back-and-forth dogfight, but this time the Clippers wouldn’t give the lead up.

DeAndre Jordan slammed home a Chris Paul miss to put the Clippers up 74-72 going into the fourth quarter. Mo Williams hit a 3-pointer to open the fourth and rolled from there. Williams finished with 18 points and four steals.

“It's the energy. I just come with a lot of energy,” said Williams, who is averaging 22.2 points in five games since returning from a foot injury.“I don't get tired, so I just keep going.”

While the Clippers went through their peaks and valleys, Blake Griffin was steady. He put up highlight-reel dunks throughout and nearly finished with a triple-double (20 points, 9 rebounds, 8 assists).

“We're still finding our way a little bit,” Griffin said. “We've just got to keep going. Chris is back in the lineup and things are always going to change. Hopefully it'll get better. We feel comfortable out there, but it's a learning process.”

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