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Clippers drop fourth straight

2/12/2004

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) -- The Memphis Grizzlies are carrying some
momentum into the All-Star break.

Pau Gasol had 22 points and eight rebounds Wednesday night,
sending Memphis to a 110-102 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers.
The Grizzlies have won five of their last six and are 16-4 in their
past 20 home games.

Despite a sometimes rugged and sloppy game, Memphis was glad to
win going into the break.

"It's nice to take a break from basketball and not be fretting
about a loss and what you did wrong," reserve swingman Shane
Battier said.

Five players scored in double figures for the surprising
Grizzlies (30-22), who increased their franchise record for wins.

Memphis led by double digits much of the game, until a
fourth-quarter rally got the Clippers as close as 100-95 when Matt
Barnes hit a pair of free throws with 2:42 left.

But a drive by Jason Williams, followed by a 3-pointer from Mike
Miller put the game out of reach.

"Miller came out and hit another 3, and that put the nail in
the coffin," Clippers center Chris Kaman said.

The Clippers, in the midst of a nine-game road trip, lost their
fourth straight.

Elton Brand had 24 points and 15 rebounds for the short-handed
Clippers, who were missing leading scorer Corey Maggette and
third-leading scorer Quentin Richardson due to injuries.

"When you're missing 40 points from your lineup, that's part of
it, but everyone has that problem," Los Angeles coach Mike
Dunleavy said. "I thought our guys could have taken care of the
ball a little better, but we had a chance, and we were in the
game."

Lorenzen Wright scored 16 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for
Memphis, while Williams and Miller finished with 15 points each.
Williams added 10 assists.

Memphis coach Hubie Brown also recognized how difficult it was
for the Clippers to play without Maggette and Richardson. But he
said Los Angeles made up for it with scrappy play.

"It's very hard to win on the road," Brown said. "But this is
what is great about professional basketball -- you can move other
guys in, and those guys can also score."

Eddie House added 19 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists for
the Clippers. Kaman had a career-high 16 points, and Barnes
finished with 13 points.

The Grizzlies looked as if they would run away with it early. A
12-0 run midway through the first quarter gave Memphis a 29-15
lead. Memphis eventually led by 18 in the first half.

Memphis had a 64-47 lead at halftime.

Gasol led Memphis with 16 points, and Miller added 11 in the
half.

Brand had 12 for the Clippers, while Marko Jaric scored 11.

Memphis had 18 points off the Clippers' 11 first-half turnovers,
and outscored Los Angeles 20-2 on the fast break. Memphis finished
with 25 points off 17 Clippers miscues.

"We had a lot of turnovers in the first half that ended up in
points for them," House said. "Spotting a team (19) in this
league, if you don't get over the hump, I don't care who you are
playing, you're not going to get it done."

Los Angeles cut the lead to six midway through the third, but
Memphis carried an 89-76 lead into the fourth period. The Grizzlies
stretched the advantage after the Clippers got close in the final
period.

"It was not the prettiest game," Battier said, "but a week
from now, no one will ever remember if it was a pretty game or an
ugly game. All they will see is that it was a win."

Game notes
Both teams get a lengthy break for All-Star weekend. The
Grizzlies are off for six days before their Feb. 17 game at home
against the Mavericks. The Clippers get a week off before visiting
Portland on Feb. 18. ... Williams missed a fourth-quarter free
throw, breaking a string of 18 straight. ... Brown earned his 399th
NBA win. Earlier this season, Brown got his 500th victory as a
professional coach, 104 of those coming with the Kentucky Colonels
of the ABA. ... Jaric, who had a career-high 12 assists against
Minnesota on Tuesday, finished with four. ... House and Barnes
started in place of Richardson and Maggette.