Monday, November 24, 2014
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Gasol leads Grizzlies past Clippers

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[November 24, 2014]  MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Although the Los Angeles Clippers had been playing uphill all night, they were still in the game -- down by 12 points with just under three minutes to play in the third quarter. That's when Memphis Grizzlies center Marc Gasol (30 points and 12 rebounds) ran free and clear to the rim and dunked.

Clippers coach Doc Rivers called a timeout. He couldn't take it anymore.

"I know Marc Gasol's got amazing speed," Rivers said, "but he shouldn't be able to go from the 3-point line to the goal without anybody touching him."

In a way, that one play summarized everything. The Grizzlies defeated the Los Angeles Clippers 107-91 Sunday night at FedExForum and with a slimmed-down Gasol leading the way, the Grizzlies were the aggressors and led by as many as 25 points in the fourth quarter.

Gasol was almost flawless, making 13 of 18 shots from the floor. He also blocked two shots.

"Gasol looks great and he's playing with an edge, very serious," Rivers said. "They all have that edge. You can feel it when you watch them on tape."
 


The Grizzlies (12-2) extended their regular-season home winning streak to 22 games. The Grizzlies have won three of their last four and in dominating fashion: On Nov. 17, they beat the Houston Rockets here 119-93. After losing by four at Toronto while missing several players that had a stomach virus, they returned home and beat Boston by 17 points.

And then they dropped a hammer on the Clippers.

"The Clippers are somebody that we know and that we've played in the playoffs, and they know us," Gasol said. "We wanted to come out strong like we do at home. Especially at home you have to play with a little more of an edge."

By holding the Clippers to under 100 points, the Grizzlies stopped Los Angeles' nine-game road streak of scoring 100 or more -- the team's longest stretch since moving to Los Angeles. Forward Blake Griffin struggled through a 5-for-17 shooting night, scoring just 12 points.

Point guard Chris Paul led Los Angeles with 22 points, five assists and four steals. Guard Jamal Crawford scored 19 points off the bench, and guard J.J. Redick finished with 15 points.

The Clippers (7-5) pulled within 78-70 when Paul hit a driving layup with 1:47 left in the third quarter. However, Memphis went on a 10-2 run and led 88-72 going into the final frame. Los Angeles never again got within single digits.

Memphis dominated points in the paint 52-32 and outrebounded the Clippers 52-32.

"We didn't rebound well enough tonight," Paul said. "We're one of those teams, like a lot of teams in the league, we have to defend so we can get out and play up-tempo."

The Grizzlies shot 49.4 percent (42-for-85) from the field. The Clippers made 41.6 percent (32 of 77).

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Six players finished in double figures for the Grizzlies. Guard Courtney Lee scored 13 points, swingman Tony Allen had 12, reserve point guard Beno Udrih had 11 points off the bench, and Quincy Pondexter had 11. Power forward Zach Randolph contributed 10 points and eight rebounds.

But all of those points were mere accessories to Gasol's work, which was a nice follow-up to Friday night when he tied his career high with 32 points against the Celtics.

"He's very difficult to guard right now," Grizzlies coach Dave Joerger said.

The knock against Gasol in the past? Too unselfish, rather pass than shoot or make a strong move to the rim. But that's clearly changing as he has put up three of four career games with at least 30 points in this young season. Gasol's first step is obviously quicker and he can become a free agent this summer.

"Contract-year diet," said Clippers guard J.J. Redick. "Everybody leans up in their contract year."

NOTES: The Grizzlies had everyone active for Sunday's game after several players were out -- and others were playing at diminished capacity -- the previous two games due to a stomach virus that swept through the team. ... Memphis PG Nick Calathes finished serving his 20-game suspension for a violation of the NBA's drug policy and was active for the first time. He played eight scoreless minutes. Calathes was suspended just before the Grizzlies began their first-round playoff series last season. ... This was the third game of a seven-game road trip for the Clippers that will cover 7,231 miles. Only four NBA teams have seven-game trips this season. ... The Clippers and Grizzlies have two of the top four rebounders this season. Clippers C DeAndre Jordan was second in the NBA with 12.2 per game through Saturday, and Memphis PF Zach Randolph was tied for third at 12.1 per game.

[ 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

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