for this game

Thornton nets career high as Clippers edge Grizzlies

Mar 30, 2008 - 6:36 AM By Jonathan Raber PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

LOS ANGELES (Ticker) -- He may be in his first season, but Al Thornton certainly isn't playing like a rookie.

Thornton scored a career-high 39 points as the Los Angeles Clippers snapped their longest losing streak in nearly four years with a 110-97 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies on Saturday.

It was another impressive night for the 14th overall pick in last June's draft, who entered ranked second in the league among first-year players in scoring at 11.9 per game.

"It's definitely been a grind, it's been fun," Thornton said of the season. "Most importantly, it's been a learning experience, something for me to take into next season."

Thornton got himself in the record books with his performance on Saturday. He tied Tom Chambers and Terry Cummings for the Clippers' rookie record for most points in a game.

"It was impressive," Grizzlies rookie guard Mike Conley said. "It was tough to have to deal with it because he beat us tonight but, at the same time, that was a great performance. He definitely didn't look like a rookie at all."

Corey Maggette finished with 26 points and Chris Kaman added 10 and 15 rebounds to help the Clippers end a 10-game slide.

They hadn't lost that many since dropping 13 straight in 2004. Their last win came over the league-worst Miami Heat, 99-98, on March 10.

"You know, when you lose so much, you don't even know how many times you've lost?" Maggette asked. "That's how I feel, I don't even know. It's just good to get a win, get the monkey off our back."

The Grizzlies wasted a chance at sweeping the Los Angeles-based teams.

They overcame 53 points by Kobe Bryant to defeat the Lakers on Friday but weren't able to replicate the same success on back-to-back nights.

"We got a big win on the road and then came out with this effort tonight," Grizzlies forward Hakim Warrick said. "It is a big letdown."

Thornton scored 20 points in the final quarter keep the Clippers out in front. The rookie forward opened the fourth with consecutive 3-pointers, which gave the Clippers an 81-71 lead.

Memphis was only able to get within seven points midway through the quarter, before Thornton added another shot from the arc to extend the advantage to 99-84 with 3:47 remaining.

After the game, Thornton joked that he may owe his performance to the absence of his signature headband, which he ditched prior to taking the floor.

"I just had to switch it up, I got tired of the headband," Thornton said. "I think it was kind of bad luck, so I tossed it."

Rudy Gay had 23 points and Kyle Lowry added 20 for the Grizzlies, who struggled from 3-point range, hitting just 1-of-14 attempts.

All five starters reached double-figures in scoring, but the bench contributed just eight points for Los Angeles, which opened the game on a 12-2 run.

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