MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — With Tony Allen back, the Memphis Grizzlies were able to turn up their defense pressure and hold off the Los Angeles Clippers down the stretch.
Zach Randolph had 21 points and 11 rebounds, Marc Gasol added 17 points and 10 rebounds, and the Grizzlies survived a late rally for a 102-96 victory over the Clippers on Friday night.
Allen, the Grizzlies' defensive sparkplug, missed the previous 21 games with a sprained left wrist. His return sparked a defensive effort that held the Clippers to 33 percent shooting in the second half and gave Memphis a double-digit lead that was enough of a buffer for the Grizzlies to win their fourth straight. Allen scored nine points on 4-of-4 shooting with two steals and a block.
"With TA back in the lineup, it's great," Randolph said. "He's a leader on this team, and he gets guys going with his energy. What else can I say? We're happy to have him back."
Allen drew a standing ovation when he entered the game late in the first quarter and seemed even more animated than usual in seeing his first action since Jan. 3. He said his goal was "to get in there and cause havoc."
"I kind of had butterflies in my stomach when they did that," Allen said of the ovation, "but I got focused on the game."
James Johnson added 15 for Memphis, and Mike Miller finished with 13, hitting 5 of 8 from the field. Courtney Lee scored 10 for Memphis. Gasol had four blocks.
Blake Griffin led the Clippers with 28 points and 13 rebounds, and Jamal Crawford had 23 points. Chris Paul added 18 points and 14 assists, but was 4 of 13 from the field as Los Angeles lost its second straight.
"It was just one of those games that we missed a lot of easy ones," Griffin said after Los Angeles shot 39 percent for the game.
Clippers coach Doc Rivers thought the game started slipping away in the second quarter. Rivers, who coached Allen in Boston, noted that he was a key.