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Can’t fault the effort as Grizzlies fizzle in fourth against Clippers

“They’re one of the best teams playing short-handed in the league,” said head coach Tyronn Lue after the shorthanded Memphis Grizzlies pushed his Los Angeles Clippers to come up big in the fourth quarter to win 135-129 at Crypto.com Arena.

Missing starters Ja Morant, Dillon Brooks and Steven Adams, along with key reserve Brandon Clarke, the Grizzlies had the Clippers, who had lost five straight, down 15 going into the final quarter.

Memphis whopped the Clippers with 51 points in the third quarter.

“Give them a lot of credit. They’ve got two studs over there that made big-time shots,” Memphis coach Taylor Jenkins said. “They picked up their physicality, something we’ve got to learn from obviously.”

Paul George scored 42 points and Kawhi Leonard added 34 points and 10 rebounds to give the Clippers their first win since the All-Star break.

“Tonight was a huge win for us,” coach Lue said. “It felt like the stakes were high. Losing five in a row with a team that has a lot of talent.”

Desmond Bane scored 30 points, Tyus Jones added 25 and Jaren Jackson Jr. had 24 points for the Grizzlies, whose All-Star guard, Morant, is away from the team indefinitely while the NBA investigates his social media post in which he appears to be holding a gun.

Clarke is out with a season-ending Achilles injury and Brooks was serving a one-game suspension after exceeding the technical-foul limit. Adams reportedly is getting lose to returning after a knee injury that has had him sidelined for a considerable stretch.

George and Leonard scored every point in a 17-0 spurt in which the Clippers erased a 10-point deficit and took a 124-121 lead. George had the first eight points and Leonard finished it off with the last nine, hitting a 3-pointer and dunking.

“Kawhi did a good job turning it up the last eight minutes,” Lue said. “It was a total team effort.”

Trailing 84-79, the Grizzlies caught fire over the final minutes of the third. Jones scored 20 points in the period and drew awe from the crowd as he hit three 3-pointers and canned jumper after jumper.

Jones had one of his 12 assists on a pass to Santi Aldama, who scored and then dunked on the next possession. Bane closed the period with back-to-back 3s that sent the Grizzlies into the fourth leading 112-97.

The Grizzlies opened their run with 12 straight points, with Jones scoring six points and Jackson hitting a 3-pointer that pulled them into an 84-all tie. They outscored the Clippers 51-30 in the third.

“To give up 51 points in the third quarter, that’s got to be a record in some capacity,” Lue said.

Luke Kennard scored 15 points against his old team in his return to Crypto.com Arena. Kennard and Lue shared an embrace after the game.

“I miss him. That’s one of my favorite guys,” Lue said.

NOTES:

  • Ziaire Williams had three fouls in five minutes in the first half after being recalled from the Memphis Hustle.
  • The Grizzlies on Tuesday will be back on the court at Crypto.com Arena to face the Los Angeles Lakers.

 

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