Grizzlies Bench Keys Victory Over Clippers
Memphis 102, L.A. Clippers 86
LOS ANGELES, March 5 (Ticker) -- While Mike Miller was leading a great effort by their bench, the Memphis Grizzlies played their usual hard-nosed defense.
Miller scored 12 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter and the Grizzlies held the Los Angeles Clippers to just 34 points in the second half en route to a 102-86 victory, their third straight win.
Memphis came into the game allowing 88.5 points per game, second-best in the NBA. After surrendering 52 points in the first half, the Grizzlies held the Clippers to just 35 percent (12-of-34) shooting after the break.
"I thought defensively in the second half we improved," Grizzlies coach Mike Fratello said. "All of the things that were hurting us in the first half we did a better job in the second half."
"What we do defensively is try to get into the open court," Miller said. "Anytime you do that, you deny letting them get set up in their half-court offense. It's a lot more different when they are scrambling trying to find shooters."
Of Memphis' four double-digit scorers, three - Miller, Bobby Jackson and Dahntay Jones - did not start as the bench scored 51 points, matching the output of the starters.
"That's what this team is all about," Jackson said. "Except for Pau (Gasol), who is our main guy, the next seven guys can put it in the basket and play with anybody in this league"
"Our bench just tries to be ready and come in and do the best it can," Miller said. "Our job is to sustain or add to the lead and play hard when we are in there and hope to get more minutes."
Los Angeles held a 61-55 advantage with nine minutes remaining in the third quarter when Memphis went on a 18-4 burst over the next 5 1/2 minutes. Jake Tsakalidis scored six of his eight points during the charge.
Miller closed the period with a floater to give the Grizzlies a 77-68 lead. The advantage swelled to 81-68 with 10:40 to go on a 3-pointer by Jackson, who scored 15 points. The Clippers got no closer than seven points thereafter.
Gasol scored 17 points for the Grizzlies, whose three-game winning streak has followed a three-game slide.
Brand scored 23 points and Chris Kaman added 17 and 11 rebounds for the Clippers, who have dropped two in a row following a three-game winning streak.