THE Los Angeles Clippers turned to their stifling defense to build a big lead and held on to survive a Memphis Grizzlies fightback, 99-88, on Friday (Saturday, Manila time) at the FedEx Forum.
Chris Paul had six of the Clippers’ 16 steals, scoring 30 points off the Grizzlies’ 18 turnovers. He also led LA’s sizzling run to dominate Memphis in the middle quarters.
With a slim 25-24 advantage in the second quarter, the Clippers went on a 23-6 rally for a 10-minute stretch and brought a 53-35 lead at the break. LA pounded Memphis even more in the third, and led by as much as 21 points near the end of the period.
But the Grizzlies kept chipping and got closest at 93-86 with 42.8 seconds to go, thanks to Mike Conley’s seventh triple of the game. The Clippers, though, won the free throw battles to become the first team to beat the Grizzlies in Memphis this season.
Paul had 27 points and 11 assists to lead the Clippers to a 4-1 record, while Blake Griffin posted a double double of 14 markers and 10 rebounds. DeAndre Jordan lorded the boards with 21 to go with two blocks.
Conley dropped 30 while Marc Gasol added 21 and Zach Randolph chipped in 15 off the bench for the Grizzlies in a losing effort.