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Clippers' poor offensive performance results in 96-86 loss to Grizzlies

Andrew Greif, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Basketball

MEMPHIS -- Just like the first time they faced the Memphis Grizzlies this season, the Los Angeles Clippers trailed by eight points with fewer than two minutes to play in Wednesday's fourth quarter.

This time, however, there was no stunning comeback, no stirring overtime push, no talk of resiliency afterward. There were only empty possessions to start and finish a 96-86 defeat at FedEx Forum and a sour end to a four-game trip.

For the first time since Nov. 24, the Clippers no longer hold the top spot in the Western Conference.

"I thought this was the first night I could say that we just got our butts kicked," coach Doc Rivers said. "I thought they played better, harder, had better focus. Give them credit. They were better prepared and ready to play."

It was only the Clippers' third loss this season by double digits, but the margin could have been even greater. Everything that could have gone wrong for the Clippers' offense did.

They shot 33.8 percent from the field, the lowest percentage allowed by the Grizzlies this season, and had more turnovers (18) than assists (16).

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Tobias Harris made two of his 13 shots. Danilo Gallinari, who entered having made 115 of his 122 foul shots and ranking second in the league in free-throw accuracy, missed four of his eight free throws.

The Clippers missed their first six shots, trailed 10-0 within the first four minutes and admitted they'd been pushed around.

"The thing about it is we knew going into the game they were going to bring that type of physicality and that type of energy," Harris said. "We should have been, as a team, we need to do a better job to be more prepared mentally of how they were going to play and try to match that. I thought we got off to too slow of a start."

The issues were not all offensive. The Grizzlies entered last in the league in pace and in the bottom third by averaging 11 fast break points a night. They had 15 in the first half.

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