Photos from the Los Angeles Clippers’ 111-107 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies
They began to push, shove and glare at each other, a show of force from the Clippers and Memphis Grizzlies taking shape in the third quarter Wednesday night.
Bodies were flying all over the Staples Center court and a lot of energy was being exerted by both teams. A flagrant foul was called on Memphis’ Andrew Harrison.
The Clippers dug out of a 16-point hole in the third quarter, only to lose to the Grizzlies, 111-107, ending their seven-game winning streak.
This sizzling game between two teams with a playoff history was determined in the final seconds.
When James Ennis made just one of two free throws with 26.3 seconds left, the Clippers still had a 107-106 lead and a chance to close out the game.
But Jamal Crawford got trapped and turned the ball over as Marc Gasol got the steal, giving Memphis the ball with 23.1 seconds left.
Mike Conley, who had been a problem for the Clippers all game, found Gasol in the corner for a three-pointer that gave the Grizzlies a 109-107 lead with 14.4 seconds left.
The Clippers still had an opportunity after calling a timeout.
But J.J. Redick, who scored 29 points and had made seven three-pointers in the second half, had the ball slip out of his hands as he went up for a three-pointer that might have won the game.
Conley was fouled and finished off the game by making two free throws for the final score.
Chris Paul, who tried to overcome a poor shooting night, had given the Clippers a 107-105 lead with 1:03 left on a 13-foot jumper. Paul finished with nine points on three-for-11 shooting.
The Memphis trio of Conley (30 points), Gasol (26) and Zach Randolph (18), familiar foes to the Clippers, gave L.A. all it could handle.
The Clippers found themselves in a 79-63 hole in the third, but they crawled back to within 83-76 entering the fourth because of a better defensive effort.
It didn’t figure to be this kind of game. The Grizzlies really are an offensively challenged team, scoring having been hard to come by this season.
They entered the game averaging 97.5 points a game (25th in the NBA) and shooting 42.2% from the field (28th).
The Grizzlies have relied upon the three-pointer this season as a weapon, and it has served well at times.
Though they were making only 32% of their three-point tries before Wednesday night, they were attempting 25.8 per game and making 8.3.
That meant the Clippers had to constantly be aware of the Grizzlies launching long-distance bombs, especially from point guard Conley.
If they knew what was coming, the Clippers’ vaunted defense couldn’t stop it in the first half.
The 61 points the Clippers allowed in the first two quarters were the most they have given up all season.
They saw the Grizzlies make 50% (seven of 14) of their three-pointers, with Conley making all four of his attempts.
Meanwhile, on offense, the Clippers couldn’t put the ball in the basket much in the first half.
The most surprising event took place when Paul drew a foul with 0.6 seconds left in the second quarter, giving him three free throws. But he missed two of them, another sign of how difficultly things were going for the Clippers.