LOS ANGELES -- The Clippers needed a big victory. They needed it to hold on to the No. 3 spot in the Western Conference. They needed it to answer questions about where the team stands headed into the postseason.
They didn't get it.
The Clippers lost to the Memphis Grizzlies, 96-85, on Wednesday night, victimized by a dreadful second half.
"It's frustrating," Coach Vinny Del Negro said. "I expect a lot from this team, but we're not playing at a high enough level against the top teams right now."
The Clippers turned the ball over 10 times in the second half and were outscored, 42-33.
"We didn't score enough points, screen well enough or execute enough," Del Negro said. "And then, the turnovers really bothered us."
The loss should raise the volume on questions about how the Clippers matchup with the top teams in the NBA. Since winning at Memphis on Jan. 14, the Clippers are 0-6 against teams seeded sixth or better in the West.
"It's going to take more energy, more production from all of us," Paul said. "We just have to figure out a way to better."
Paul led the Clippers with 24 points and Blake Griffin scored 22. Marc Gasol led Memphis with 21.
Injuries left the Clippers bench without much punch on their bench. Without Eric Bledsoe and with Matt Barnes starting in place of Caron Butler, the second unit struggled to find points in the first half.
"There are no excuses," Del Negro said.
Jamal Crawford went through a dreadful shooting night after missing a pair of games, hitting just 1 of 10 from the field.
"It was just one of those nights," Del Negro said. "You're not going to always shoot the ball well."
The Clippers' bench was outscored, 20-11, by Memphis on Wednesday.
The Grizzlies have won 14 of their past 15 games to take the third seed in the West playoff race.
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