As the saying in boxing goes, “styles win fights.” If that is indeed the case, the Memphis Grizzlies brought the paper to the Los Angeles Clippers rock on Monday in a 90-87 Memphis victory.
“We got stops,” said Grizzlies center Marc Gasol, who finished the game with 14 points, six rebounds and three key block shots. “We held a team to 80-somthing points that like to score a lot of points. At the end of the game, we made enough plays defensively to stay on top. We went up eight with a couple minutes to go, they cut it down to one, but we got enough stops to win it.”
Superstar point guard Chris Paul carried the load for the Clippers by scoring 30 points on 13-of-22 assists and dishing out 10 assists. The rest of the team shot 22-of-57 and their top shooters — J.J. Redick (eight points), Jamal Crawford (15 points )and Spencer Hawes (9 points) combined to shoot a terribly poor 11-of-49 from the field.
“It’s a make/miss league,” Clippers head coach Doc Rivers said, “and tonight was a great example.”
Crawford took the most three-point shots in the game and went 3-for-8. Coach Rivers sites Memphis’ team defense for his shooter’s odd night.
“I thought Tony Allen did a great job on Jamal,” Rivers said. “When Jamal came into the game, Tony Allen came into the game. I thought he did a terrific job.”
Paul had possession of the ball at the final play for the Clippers, but lost his footing and fell into a turnover by Memphis point guard Mike Conley that cost them the game. A symbolic result to how the Grizzlies wore out their opponent.
“Chris is special,” said Grizzlies power forward Zach Randolph, who had seven points and 10 rebounds. “We knew he was going to have the ball at the end. Courtney [Lee] did a great job at the defensive end, and Mike [Conley] came in. That was the game.”
“I give credit to Courtney,” said Conley, who had 18 points and seven assists. “He really did a fantastic job on [Chris Paul] at the end of the game. He forced him to a slide, and I was able to cut him off. I just took a gamble, went after the ball, and I was able to come up with it.”
“It happens,” said Clippers center DeAndre Jordan, who had nine points and 17 rebounds. “We’re going to live or die with Chris and Blake at the end of the game.”
The Clippers travel to Houston to tae on the Rockets on Wednesday but will get another chance to add to their recent rivalry on Friday at Memphis. Though the ever so eloquent Gasol doesn’t see it as a traditional rivalry.
“We have a history with a few teams now,” Gasol said, “especially in the West. San Antonio, OKC, and the Clippers are the teams that we see most in the playoffs, but there are no hard feelings — never. The game of basketball is a beautiful game that should never have hard feelings.”