|Memphis Grizzlies forward Rudy Gay, front, works past Los Angeles Clippers forward Kenyon Martin in the first half of an NBA basketball game Monday, April 9, 2012, in Memphis, Tenn. (AP Photo/Lance Murphey)|
Gasol, Gay lead Grizzlies past Clippers
Mike Conley and O.J. Mayo added 13 each for Memphis, which won for the eighth time in 10 games and moved one-half game behind the Clippers for the fourth seed in the Western Conference.
Marreese Speights finished had 12 points and Zach Randolph added 10 points and 12 rebounds as the Grizzlies finished with a 48-36 rebounding edge, but committed 20 turnovers.
Chris Paul led Los Angeles with 21 points and six assists, while Blake Griffin had 19 points on 9-of-14 shooting from the field. DeAndre Jordan added 14 points and 14 rebounds, and Eric Bledsoe and Randy Foye scored 11 points each.
The Clippers snapped a two-game winning streak and lost for just the second time in 10 games.
The game had the atmosphere of a playoff matchup. The Memphis crowd was intense, the play on the floor was physical and emotions were high with a lot of players barking about calls.
The Clippers pulled to 86-83 with 55.8 seconds left on Jordan's dunk. But Memphis hit all six of its free throws, including four by Conley, in the final 31 seconds to preserve the victory.
The Grizzlies led 52-41 at halftime despite committing seven turnovers. Memphis overcame the ballhandling problems by shooting 55 percent and controlling the boards, 23-18.
Memphis finished shooting 50 percent, while the Clippers were limited to 41 percent.
Gasol led the Grizzlies with 12 points in the first half. No Clippers player had reached double figures, but Paul and Foye had nine apiece and Griffin had 8. Griffin also spent some time on the bench with two fouls.
Memphis' 11-point halftime lead was its largest at the break this season.
The Clippers, who committed five turnovers, including two in the final minute of the half, shot 37 percent before the break.
Memphis extended the lead to 15 early in the second half, and maintained a double-digit margin through much of the third quarter. The Grizzlies led 71-60 heading to the fourth.
Bledsoe's layup got the Clippers' deficit under double digits to start the final period, but Memphis started feeding Randolph, then Mayo scored a pair of baskets, extending the lead to 81-64 with 7 minutes left.
Griffin and Paul were on the bench at the time. When they returned during the middle portion of the fourth, consecutive baskets by Paul pulled Los Angeles to 84-74 with 3:14 left.
Paul's 3-point play with 1:22 left got the Clippers to 86-81, the closest they had been since the latter stages of the first half. A dunk by Jordan with 55.8 seconds left got them even closer at 86-83.
But Gay got a feed from Mayo on the baseline with the Clippers overplaying defensively and his dunk put the Grizzlies up five. Gay followed with two free throws after Paul's turnover, and Conley converted the final four free throws.
NOTES: Memphis assistant coach Barry Hecker was back on the Grizzlies' bench Monday night. Hecker missed Saturday's home win over Dallas with an illness. He said it was the first game he has missed since he began his coaching career in 1971. ... Memphis recalled rookie G Josh Selby from Reno of the NBADL. ... Randolph played despite being involved in a minor car accident earlier Monday. There were no injuries. Randolph tweeted shortly after the wreck that he was not injured except for a sore back. ... Despite the loss, the Clippers still hold the tiebreaker with a 2-1 advantage in the season series.