Blake Griffin/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers
Two free throws by Jamal Crawford with 7.4 seconds left enabled the Clippers to go into halftime tied 46-46 with the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday night at Staples Center.
Blake Griffin led the Clippers with 13 points five rebounds and DeAndre Jordan had nine points and four rebounds. Crawford contributed seven points off the bench.
Chris Paul, who missed Saturday’s game with a groin strain, started and scored three points while doling out two assists.
The Grizzlies’ Zach Randolph led everyone with 16 points.
DeAndre Jordan/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers, NBA.com
Coach Doc Rivers has been saying that Clippers’ center DeAndre Jordan is the best defensive player in the league. It sounds like Memphis’ Zach Randolph thinks a lot of Jordan, too.
Randolph on Saturday led the Grizzlies with 21 points in their 94-86 loss to the Clippers at Staples Center. But he shot just 8 of 19 (42.1 percent) from the field. Jordan was at least partly responsible, Randolph intimated.
“DeAndre is just long,” Randolph said. “DeAndre is long, athletic and one of the best defenders in the league.”
Chris Paul reacts after having the ball stolen from him with 1.5 seconds left in the Clippers’ 90-87 loss to Memphis/Photo by Jae C. Hong, Associated Press
– There really is nothing for Clippers fans to complain about regarding this loss. The Grizzlies (41-14) have the third-best record in the NBA and a day earlier showed just how good they are by outscoring Portland 34-15 in the fourth quarter to win 98-92 at Portland. Yet, without Blake Griffin, the Clippers almost beat them.
– Afterward, coach Doc Rivers praised the effort Tony Allen did defending Clippers sixth-man Jamal Crawford. Crawford scored 15 points, but made just 4 of 15 from the field.
– Chris Paul is human. He had a great game, scoring 30 points with 10 assists, two steals and two blocks. Unfortunately for him, the only thing most fans will remember is his turnover with 1.5 seconds left that sealed the Clippers’ fate. It’s not fair, but it’s reality.
– The Clippers did a nice job harassing Memphis’ Zach Randolph into a 2-for-12 shooting night. Randolph scored just seven points, well of his season average of 16.6.
– One of the reasons why this was such an exciting game is because Memphis coach David Joerger didn’t utilize the hack-a-DJ tactic recently employed against the Clippers by Houston Rockets coach Kevin McHale and San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich. Jordan shot only four free throws, making one. He did have 17 rebounds, and he leads the league with a 13.9 average.
Zach Randolph of Memphis goes up for a shot during the Grizzlies’ 107-91 victory Sunday over the Clippers/Photo by Associated Press
Do the math. Memphis got 30 points and 12 rebounds from post Marc Gasol and 10 points and eight rebounds from power forward Zach Randolph in the Grizzlies’ 107-91 victory over the Clippers on Sunday in Memphis. That’s a combined 40 points and 20 rebounds; Gasol shot 13 of 18, Randolph 5 of 11.
The Clippers got 12 points and just four rebounds from power forward Blake Griffin; he shot just 5 of 17. They got a meager two points and three rebounds from post DeAndre Jordan, who took just two shots and made one. That’s a combined 14 points and seven rebounds.
Suffice to say, the Clippers were thrashed in the battle of the bigs. But coach Doc Rivers wouldn’t put it all on Griffin and Jordan.
“I don’t think it was their entire fault,” Rivers said afterward. “We had great looks that we didn’t make. I thought our guards had trouble in the paint. I thought our bigs had to help a lot tonight. When they have to help that much, it is not good. I felt bad. It looked like the bigs had a breakdown, but it was really a team breakdown. I thought we got great looks and missed them. We never bounced back.
“Blake Griffin is fine. He has played great the last few games. I think Marc Gasol played great and our team was off. Maybe they took us out of it.”
The Grizzlies at 12-2 have the NBA’s best record.
“I told the guys at the beginning of the year, when you look at the Grizzlies’ record when they are healthy, they are a great team,” Rivers said.
Memphis is 8-0 at home, which is FedExForum.
Assuming the Clippers advance to the next round of the Western Conference playoffs with a Game 7 victory over the Warriors on Saturday, fans of the team should book their flights to Oklahoma.
Why? Because the Memphis Grizzlies’ Zach Randolph has been suspended for Game 7 of his team’s series with Oklahoma City for punching Thunder center Steven Adams in the jaw in Game 6, the NBA announced Friday afternoon.
Since Game 7 of that series is at OKC, it’s hard to imagine Memphis prevailing without Randolph, who averaged 18.2 points and 8.7 rebounds in the six games in which he played in the series.
Eric Pincus of Hoopsworld reports that the Zach Randolph-Quentin Richardson trade agreed to by the Clippers and Grizzlies will be delayed about a week due to the four-team trade the Grizzlies are involved in that was finalized today.
Pincus stresses that the deal is still on, however.