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Gasol and Memphis slip by Clippers

Apr 10, 2012 - 4:47 AM Memphis, TN (Sports Network) - Marc Gasol scored 18 points, pulled down eight rebounds and dished out seven assists as the Memphis Grizzlies withstood a late push by the Los Angeles Clippers to escape with a 94-85 victory at FedExForum.

Rudy Gay added 16 points while Mike Conley and O.J. Mayo contributed 13 apiece for the Grizzlies, who earned their third straight win to stay entrenched in the fifth seed in the Western Conference.

"Everybody here is hungry and wants to be a part of the playoffs once more," said Gay.

Chris Paul paced the Clippers with 21 points and Blake Griffin finished with 19 as Los Angeles had its two-game win streak snapped and fell to 1 1/2 games behind the Lakers for the top spot in the Pacific Division.

DeAndre Jordan had 14 points and 14 rebounds in a losing effort.

The Clippers were behind, 52-41, at the half and trailed by double digits for the majority of the third quarter, closing the gap to 60-51 with less than eight minutes left in the frame when Caron Butler and Paul capped an 8-2 run with back-to-back treys and again within the final two minutes of the third when Randy Foye ended a 7-0 spurt with a driving layup to make it 68-60.

However, each time Memphis answered with a shot from beyond the arc to halt the Clippers momentum, with Mayo connecting on a triple after Foye's basket to give the Grizzlies a 71-60 lead at the end of the third.

The Grizzlies' advantage capped off at a game-high 17 points on a Mayo layup that made it an 81-64 game with seven minutes to play before the Clippers stormed back, reeling off a 19-5 run to close the gap to three, 86-83, with a little under a minute left.

But Gay converted on a driving dunk off a long feed from Mayo to quell the run and give the Grizzlies back a two-possession lead with 37.8 seconds on the clock.

A Paul turnover on the other end led to a pair of free throws by Gay to extend the Grizzlies' advantage back up to seven points and Mike Conley made four straight free throws down the stretch as Memphis held on for the win.

"They were more aggressive, more physical and we struggled to shoot the ball. We didn't make enough shots to take some of the pressure off us," Clippers head coach Vinny Del Negro said.

After a back-and-forth opening four minutes of action, the Grizzlies reeled off a 7-0 run to take a 15-8 lead at the midpoint of the first.

The Clippers battled back with an 8-2 push to get within one, but Memphis closed out the half with a 7-2 swing to carry a 24-18 advantage into the second quarter.

The Grizzlies managed to stretch their lead to 10 on two separate occasions as they kept Los Angeles at arm's length for the majority of the second before a late Foye three-pointer was followed by a pair of Kenyon Martin free throws to bring the Clippers within 45-41 with 1:35 left in the half.

Memphis, though, recorded the final seven points of the second to take a 52-41 lead into the break.

Game Notes

Los Angeles won the season series, 2-1. The Clippers have not swept the series since taking all three meetings back in 2006-07...Memphis improved to 20-7 at home this season, while the Clippers fell to 13-14 on the road...Memphis guard Tony Allen missed his third straight game with a lacerated lip.