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(Friday, February 21st)
Final Score: Memphis 102, LA Clippers 96
Memphis, TN (SportsNetwork.com) - Zach Randolph scored 21 points, including six in the final three minutes to enable the Memphis Grizzlies to hold off the Los Angeles Clippers for a 102-96 win at FedExForum.
Randolph added 11 rebounds and Marc Gasol notched a double-double as well, recording 17 points and 10 boards along with four blocks in the resurgent Grizzlies' fourth straight victory and 16th in their last 20 games.
Blake Griffin finished with 28 points -- his 10th consecutive outing with 25 or more -- but the Clippers were held to just 38.8 percent shooting by Memphis' tight defense to drop their second in a row. Jamal Crawford had 23 points in defeat, while Chris Paul ended with 18 along with 14 assists.
"It was just one of those games that we missed a lot of easy ones," Griffin said.
The teams were deadlocked at 68-68 near the end of a back-and-forth third quarter went Memphis embarked on a pivotal 16-4 run. Tony Allen, playing for the first time since Jan. 3, netted seven points during the burst, which Mike Conley capped with a driving layup to stake the Grizzlies to an 84-72 lead with 9:23 remaining.
"What else can I say? We're happy to have him back," Randolph said of Allen.
Memphis remained ahead by double digits with just over four minutes left, but the Clippers closed the gap significantly down the stretch. A 9-2 spurt that culminated with a Matt Barnes 3-pointer cut the margin to 94-91 with 2:11 to go, and it was a 96-94 game shortly afterward following two successful Griffin free throws with 1:27 left.
Paul countered a Gasol dunk with two more foul shots that kept the differential at two entering the final minute, but Randolph delivered a clutch layup on the other end and Gasol came down with a crucial rebound of a Randolph miss inside before being fouled with 13.2 seconds showing. He calmly knocked down both bonus attempts to seal the win.
The Grizzlies trailed 27-21 after one quarter and were down by eight early in the second, but put together a 7-0 run to trim the deficit to 31-30 and kept charging from there. A 12-3 flurry, capped by a layup and free throw from James Johnson, put Memphis up 44-38 with four minutes left in the half, and the Grizzlies continued to maintain a six-point advantage until Paul was fouled on a long-distance try and made all three free throws to pull the Clippers within 53-50 at the break.
Johnson was the driving force behind Memphis' second-quarter surge, pouring in 13 of his 15 points during the period on a 6-of-8 shooting rate. He also brought the crowd to its feet when he tossed himself an alley-oop off the backboard after getting trapped in the lane.
The Grizzlies were up 61-54 five minutes into the second half before Barnes sunk a pair of treys during an 11-3 Los Angeles sequence, with the last make sending the Clippers in front 65-64 with 4:03 left in the third quarter.
Griffin was the star of the game's early stages, accounting for 10 of Los Angeles' first 18 points and totaling 15 in the opening quarter.
Allen, sidelined for Memphis' last 22 games with a fractured left hand, chipped in nine points and six rebounds in 20 minutes ... The Clippers went 27-of-43 from the foul line compared to Memphis' 13-of-15 performance from the stripe, but were outscored by a 60-34 margin in the paint ... The Grizzlies took two of the three regular-season meetings between the clubs, winning the season series from Los Angeles for the first time since 2008-09 ... The Clippers lost for the first time in eight Friday games this season.
02/22 00:38:44 ET
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