The Grizzlies outlasted the L.A. Clippers in an overtime battle in front of over 11,000 at the Pyramid on Monday night. The Grizzlies won the game, 199-115.
The Memphis Grizzlies (13-31), exhausted and beaten after a four-game road trip (the seasons longest), and riding a seven-game losing streak, knew that a win over a young and talented L.A. Clippers (22-23) team would be a big boost in these final games before the All-Star break.
But a win seemed a long ways away when point-guard Jason Williams went down with minor surgery for ingrown toenails on either foot, making him day-to-day and unable to play this night.
However, luckily for the Grizzlies, back-up point guard Brevin Knight came to play. Knight scored 19 points, and also handed out a season-high 15 assists (with only one turnover) while watching five other Grizzlies score in double digits. Forward Pau Gasol scored 23 points, pulled in 10 rebounds, and also handed out his share of assists with six on record. Forward Stromile Swift scored 22 points, and forward Shane Battier scored 20 points and pulled down nine rebounds. To round out the scoring, guard Rodney Buford scored 17 points, and center Tony Massenburg scored 11 in the win.
It was a heck of an effort out there, Grizzlies head coach Sidney Lowe said after the game. We shot the ball well, 50% for the game, Brevin and his 15 assists were outstanding, Gasol, Shane, Stromile, Rodney, everybody played well. Lowe, who has been known to criticize his players even after winning ballgames, had little in the way of critical comments this evening. We did do some things at the end of the game that I didnt care for, but I told the guys we would talk about that tomorrow. I dont want to take anything away from them.
The Grizzlies had their hands full with the Clippers, who scored early and often, building up a 12 point half-time deficit. Center Michael Olowokandi led the way with 27 points, forward Elton Brand scored 26 points and pulled in 10 rebounds, guard Jeff McInnis scored 16 points, and tossed out eight assists, guard Quentin Richardson scored 15 points, and guard Darius Miles scored 11 points in the loss.
Massenburg acknowledged that while the Grizzlies didnt stop the Clippers all night, the defense was the key in our win tonight, he said. We were able to get the stops when we needed them.
In terms of his outstanding performance, Knight said he wanted only to end the losing streak. My job is to get wins, he said. I look at what that score says. If the score is going good, then were going good, and Ill keep doing what Ive been doing. If the score is going bad, then were in trouble.
The Grizzlies take a road-trip to the Cleveland Cavaliers this Wednesday before returning to the Pyramid on Friday to face the L.A. Lakers at 7 p.m.