Notebook: Clippers 101, Grizzlies 92

Posted Nov 1, 2012 2:39 AM

By Dan Arritt, for

THE FACTS: The Clippers made significant improvements to their bench in the offseason, adding the likes of Jamal Crawford, Lamar Odom and Matt Barnes. The organization's efforts paid quick dividends Wednesday night in the season opener, as Crawford scored 29 points and the L.A. reserves combined for 49 in a 101-92 victory against the visiting Grizzlies at Staples Center.

QUOTABLE: "I thought our bench was really the difference tonight. Jamal Crawford, you can tell one of the reasons we brought him here is that he's an explosive player. He made some big shots."
--Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro

THE STAT: The Clippers committed 15 turnovers in the first half and two more on their first two possessions of the third quarter, but then settled in and committed just five the rest of the way, helping them outscore Memphis, 52-39, in the second half.

TURNING POINT: Trailing by four at the end of three quarters, Crawford and fellow reserve guard Eric Bledsoe scored five points each in a 10-0 run that put L.A. on top, 83-77. Memphis point guard Mike Conley made a layup to cut the deficit to one with 5:13 remaining, but the Grizzlies would miss six of their final seven field-goal attempts. Chris Paul, meanwhile, reentered the game for the Clippers with 9:15 left and scored seven of L.A.'s final 14 points to slam the door.

HOT: Crawford, who signed with the Clippers over the summer after playing in Portland last season, was better than advertised. He shot 10-for-14 and remained consistent all night. He converted all four of his field-goal attempts and scored 11 points in the second quarter, then was on the floor to close the game, hitting a 3-pointer in front of the Memphis bench to push the lead to 96-90 with 2:41 remaining.

NOT: In 27 career appearances against the Clippers heading into the season opener, Memphis center Zach Randolph was averaging 14.6 points, second-fewest among his NBA opponents. He averaged 13.7 in a first-round seven-game playoff loss to the Clippers last May. Once again, Randolph struggled to play to his level against the Clippers, shooting 5-for-15 and scoring 15 points. In the fourth quarter, he managed just one field-goal attempt and shot 3-for-6 from the free-throw line.

GOOD MOVE: Clippers center DeAndre Jordan came into the season looking slimmer and more determined to improve his offensive game. He didn't waste any time showing off his resolve, scoring the first six points of the game for the Clippers on a jump hook, a breakaway jam and an offensive rebound that he put back with another dunk. He finished with 12 points and seven rebounds. The only black mark was his team-high nine turnovers, but he cleaned that up in the second half, committing just two.

QUOTABLE II: "You can really be a good team when guys sacrifice for the good of the team."
--Vinny Del Negro

BAD MOVE: The Grizzlies let O.J. Mayo walk in the offseason, thinking Jerryd Bayless could fill his shoes and some of his production. After one game, he's not looking like such an upgrade. Bayless shot 1-for-8 and scored six points in 16 minutes off the bench. Mayo has 12 points in each of his first two games with the Mavericks.

NOTABLE: The Grizzlies fell to 0-12 in season openers since relocating to Memphis.

UP NEXT: For the Clippers, Friday @ L.A. Lakers, Saturday vs. Golden State, Monday vs. Cleveland. For the Grizzlies, Friday @ Golden State, Monday vs. Utah, Wednesday @ Utah.