MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — The Memphis bench has been missing in action through the first two games against the Los Angeles Clippers. Those reserves are starting to show they can hold their own on the floor and help keep the Grizzlies in this series.
Quincy Pondexter scored 10 of his 13 points in the second half, including eight in the final stanza, and the Grizzlies beat the Clippers 94-82 on Thursday night to pull within 2-1 in this Western Conference first-round series.
"I heard a lot of rumblings about our bench not playing well, myself not playing well, and I just wanted to come out and give the best effort possible and prove those people wrong," Pondexter said.
Game 4 is Saturday.
The Clippers go very deep with their bench and have outscored Memphis through the first two games, including a 30-11 edge in Game 2. But Memphis coach Lionel Hollins protected an early lead with five reserves on the court, and Pondexter was among those who helped hold off the Clippers as they twice tried to make runs in the fourth quarter.
"This is what we need every night," Hollins said. "We need somebody from the bench to step up and do something. It doesn't have to be the same guy. We like to have consistency, but if JB (Jerryd Bayless) is struggling a little bit, then Quincy can rise a little bit. ... It was just a good team win."
Zach Randolph scored 27 points and grabbed 11 rebounds after being limited both on the boards and by foul trouble in Los Angeles to start this series. Marc Gasol accepted his trophy as the NBA's Defensive Player of the Year before tipoff, then scored 16 points. Tony Allen also had 13. Mike Conley was 1 of 9, but had 10 assists and no turnovers on a night he was sick.
Randolph hadn't scored more than 13 in each of the first two games and had only 12 rebounds combined in Los Angeles. He looked much more like the All Star who had 45 double-doubles this season, and he also had six offensive rebounds after leading the NBA with 310 in the regular season.
"I definitely wanted to come out and be aggressive," Randolph said. "They've been double-teaming, triple-teaming me. So just go fast, you know hit a couple jump shots and open it up. Most definitely, I wanted to come out and be aggressive."
The Grizzlies snapped the Clippers' nine-game winning streak by outrebounding and dominating on second-chance points, the same things Los Angeles did so well on its home court to start the series in beating Memphis at its own style.
Blake Griffin scored 16 points for the Clippers. Matt Barnes had 12, Chauncey Billups 11, and Jamal Crawford and Caron Butler 10. Chris Paul had eight points on 4-of-11 shooting and added six assists. Paul wasn't happy with himself after he had five of the Clippers' 18 turnovers. He also didn't get to the free throw line either.
"It's uncharacteristic of us. You know I mean especially me," Paul said. "I had five turnovers tonight, and our turnovers led to 17 of their points. They got offensive rebounds, things we hadn't let them do in Game 1 and Game 2. We just got to be better."