Clippers win without CP3, beat Grizzlies 99-73
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Playing without Chris Paul proved no problem for the Clippers. Not having Rudy Gay was a much bigger issue for the Memphis Grizzlies.
Reserves Jamal Crawford and Matt Barnes each scored 16 points, and the Clippers easily routed the Grizzlies 99-73 Monday night with Paul missing his first game this season because of a bruised right kneecap.
"Missing the best point guard in the world in Chris Paul, we all had to play collectively and step it up, and I thought we did a good job of that," Crawford said.
The matchup between two of the best teams in the West wasn't close after the first quarter. While Paul watched from the bench, the Grizzlies were without their leading scorer: Gay was excused for his grandmother's funeral in Baltimore.
This also was the Clippers' first trip to Memphis since they won Game 7 of their opening-round playoff series last May. All they did was match their largest margin of victory on the road this season while holding the Grizzles to a season-low in points and their worst field goal shooting percentage on their home court in franchise history.
"That's why I said before the game that they're the best team in the West, maybe the best team in the league right now," Memphis coach Lionel Hollins said of the Clippers.
Eric Bledsoe, starting for Paul, had 14 points, and Blake Griffin scored 10. Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro was able to give nine players at least 17 minutes each before heading to Houston for the second half of a back-to-back Tuesday night.
"We want to be the best team we can, and that's our goal as the season moves on," Del Negro said. "I thought we were lacking a lot, but I thought we played well."
Zach Randolph had 15 for Memphis, which lost its second straight blowout, after losing 104-83 at Dallas on Saturday night. Wayne Ellington added 11 in a rare start in place of Gay, and Darrell Arthur had 10 as the Grizzlies shot just 30.3 percent (27 of 89), a franchise-low at home. Randolph said they really missed Gay's ability to drive and relieve pressure.
"They clogged up the paint on us, make us shoot from outside, make us pass the ball up because they're doubling as soon as we catch it," Randolph said. "They're coming from every direction, and that makes us pass out to the perimeter."
The Clippers had a 40-36 scoring edge in the paint as DeAndre Jordan and Griffin helped limit Randolph to 5-of-16 shooting and Marc Gasol to 4 of 13.
"That's where most of their points were coming from since Rudy wasn't playing," Bledsoe said. "I think DJ and Blake, in taking Zach Randolph out of the game, that kind of stopped their offensive game."
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