MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Zach Randolph had 27 points and 11 rebounds, and the Memphis Grizzlies returned to form Thursday night by beating the Los Angeles Clippers 94-82 to pull to 2-1 in the first-round series.
Memphis snapped the Clippers’ nine-game winning streak by outrebounding and dominating on second-chance points, the same things Los Angeles did so well on its home court to start the series. Game 4 is Saturday in Memphis.
Marc Gasol accepted his trophy as the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year before tipoff, then scored 16 points. Quincy Pondexter and Tony Allen had 13 each, and Mike Conley was 1 of 9 but had 10 assists.
Blake Griffin scored 16 points for the Clippers. Matt Barnes had 12, Chauncey Billups 11 and Jamal Crawford and Caron Butler 10. Chris Paul had eight points on 4-of-11 shooting and added six assists.
The game was a continuation of the roughness in Los Angeles with a flagrant foul, three technicals and a lot of whoofing along with a bear hug by Randolph after Barnes’ flagrant foul.
The Clippers had beaten the Grizzlies three straight in Memphis, including a Game 7 win in the first round a year ago. They also had won six of the last seven in the series overall.
Memphis outrebounded the Clippers 45-33 including 17-5 on the offensive boards. That gave the Grizzlies a 22-4 edge in second-chance points, which was similar to what the Clippers did to Memphis in Game 1 when they held a 25-5 advantage. The Grizzlies also outscored Los Angeles 40-26 in the paint and led by as much as 16.
Randolph hadn’t scored more than 13 in each of the first two games and had only 12 rebounds combined in Los Angeles. He returned to the form that helped him turn in 45 double-doubles this season.
The Clippers last led 10-8 in the first quarter before the Grizzlies took control with Randolph hitting four of his first five shots and all five free throws for 13 points in the quarter. They tried to make a run late in the third and into the fourth as they have so often to beat Memphis in this series. They got as close as 74-69 with 8:39 left on a pair of free throws by Barnes.
Memphis answered with a 7-2 spurt of its own to push the lead back to double digits on a reverse layup by Pondexter off an assist by Randolph. During the run, Paul stole the ball from Grizzlies guard Jerryd Bayless and passed to Eric Bledsoe for a 3 he missed. Gasol got the rebound.
The Grizzlies outscored the Clippers 23-20 in the first quarter and 24-19 in the second taking a 47-39 lead into halftime. They hadn’t led by more than six in Los Angeles and were up by seven in the first quarter back on their own court. They pushed that to 12 in the second quarter.
Memphis’ lead grew to 14 a couple times in the third, the last at 68-54 on a pair of free throws by Quincy Pondexter with 1:22 left.
That’s when the Clippers went on a 10-2 run featuring back-to-back 3s by Crawford and then Lamar Odom. Ronny Turiaf dunked to pull the Clippers to 70-64 with 11:04 to go. Pondexter then scored five points for Memphis as he got the rebound after he missed his second free throw attempt and put it back only to be fouled by Barnes. Pondexter added the free throw pushing Memphis’ lead back up to double digits with 10:16 remaining.
Notes: Randolph wound up part of a double foul situation for a third straight game in this series with Griffin late in the game. … The Clippers hadn’t lost in Memphis since Game 5 last year in the playoffs.