The Clippers had done much better than anyone could have anticipated in the five games they had played without the services of the injured Blake Griffin. In going 4-1, three of the victories came against Western Conference playoff-bound teams.But none of them were the Memphis Grizzlies, who came to town Monday fresh off a thrilling victory at Portland. Memphis entered play in second place in the Western Conference standings, so a victory over them would have been almost too much to ask.It was, as it turned out, as Memphis held off the Clippers 90-87 in a tremendously exciting game before 19,131 at Staples Center.The Clippers led 22-21 after one quarter, 44-38 at halftime and 68-66 after three quarters. The Clippers were down by just three points with 3:18 to play in the game, but when Courtney Lee buried a 3-pointer with 2:28 left, Memphis held its largest lead at 88-80 and the Clippers couldn’t overcome that. “We’ve gotta give him room to maneuver,” he said.Paul was bummed.“We gave ourselves a chance,” he said. “We had the ball. You at least have to get a shot up, not a turnover. That’s on me. Last play, just turned the ball over. All I can think about is if I was at home watching this game, I’d say, ‘This dummy didn’t get a shot up.’ In that situation, you’ve got to give yourself a chance.”The Grizzlies’ Zach Randolph praised his teammates for forcing the turnover.“Chris is special,” he said of Paul “We knew he was going to have the ball, but Courtney and Mike did a good job on the defensive end.”Randolph then applauded his entire team.“Coming in here and getting a win is always tough, and tonight was one of those games — especially on a back-to-back,” Randolph said. “We showed a lot of heart and resilience and kept playing.“Guys stuck together and everybody contributed. That’s what we have to do. It was a team win.”Paul scored a game-high 30 points on 13-of-22 shooting. He also had 10 assists, two steals, two blocks and four turnovers. Jamal Crawford scored 15 and was the only other Clipper to score in double figures, but he shot just 4 of 15 from the field. DeAndre Jordan had nine points, 17 rebounds and two blocks. Spencer Hawes scored nine, but the 7-foot-1 post had just one rebound; he did block three shots.The Clippers (37-20) had their four-game winning streak snapped.Conley led the Grizzlies (41-14) with 18 points, Jeff Green scored 16, Marc Gasol had 14 points and six rebounds, Tony Allen scored 10, Lee nine and Randolph had just seven points with 10 rebounds; Randolph shot 2 of 12 from the field.The Clippers shot 44.3 percent, the Grizzlies 40.7.The loss notwithstanding, the Clippers are 4-2 without arguably their best player in Griffin. Rivers was told post game that he has to be happy about that.“I was, until we lost this game,” he said. “I’m competitive just like everyone else. And I just believe we should still win the games, and we can’t worry about who’s not playing. We’ve gotta win games.”The Clippers now embark on a four-game road trip starting Wednesday at Houston. But they almost did, scoring the next seven points to pull within 88-87. Then when Chris Paul tried to work for one last shot that could have won the game, he was harassed by Lee and had the ball stolen by Mike Conley with just 1.5 seconds left.Conley was fouled and made two free throws for the game’s final points. The Clippers did not get off a final shot as their length-of-the-court pass was intercepted at the buzzer.Coach Doc Rivers said the turnover by Paul was created partly because Paul’s teammates didn’t give him enough room to operate.“There was just no spacing,” Rivers said. “Listen, it was a random play because we didn’t have a timeout. It was a fast break for the most part, but I thought our spacing was horrendous. And I told our guys that at the end of the game.”Indeed, he did. Matt Barnes, who had eight points and seven rebounds, concurred. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error
Former Lakers star Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter were among nine people killed in a helicopter crash Sunday in Calabasas. The news rattled the sports world and led to instant reaction on social media: AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREUCLA alum Kenny Clark signs four-year contract extension with PackersFormer UCLA basketball player Shareef O’Neal, the son of Shaq, also shared the interaction he had with Kobe this morning. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error We are providing free access to this article. Please consider supporting local journalism like this by purchasing a subscription.