Regular Season Series (Game 4 of 4)

Series starts 1/11

Game 1: Sunday, January 11th
Game 2: Wednesday, February 11th
Game 3: Saturday, March 6th
Game 4: Friday, March 12th

Clippers 89

(26-39, 8-25 away)

Grizzlies 98

(41-24, 25-8 home)

    Coverage: FSS

    7:00 PM ET, March 12, 2004

    1 2 3 4 T
    LAC 22 17 24 2689
    MEM 27 20 25 2698

    Top Performers

    LAC: Q. Richardson 25 Pts, 11 Reb, 5 Ast, 2 Stl

    Mem: P. Gasol 24 Pts, 18 Reb, 6 Ast, 2 Blk

    Gasol notches 24 points, 18 rebounds

    MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) -- For the first time ever, the Grizzlies will not finish the season with a losing record. They guaranteed it Friday night.

    Pau Gasol scored 24 points and grabbed a career-high 18 rebounds, and the Grizzlies guaranteed the first .500 season in franchise history with a 98-89 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers.

    Memphis won its 41st game of the season as Gasol, playing in honor of his countrymen killed and injured in Thursday's terrorist bombings in Spain, took over in the fourth quarter when the Clippers made a comeback. Bonzi Wells, who had 19 points, scored nine straight Memphis points to finish things off.

    "Yeah, 41, this was our first goal," Memphis coach Hubie Brown said. "The first goal was to get to 41. ...We are so far away from peaking. I'm being serious."

    The victory, Memphis' seventh straight, moved the Grizzlies a half-game ahead of the Dallas Mavericks for the Western Conference's fifth playoff spot. The Grizzlies swept Los Angeles, the first time they've swept a Western Conference foe in franchise history.

    The Clippers, who lost their third straight, haven't won on the road against a Western Conference opponent since Dec. 20.

    James Posey matched Wells' 19 points, while Jason Williams had 13 points and seven assists. Shane Battier added 11 points off the bench.

    Quentin Richardson led the Clippers with 25 points, including 15 in the final period to key the Los Angeles comeback. Richardson also had a team-high 11 rebounds. Elton Brand finished with 15, while Keyon Dooling and Chris Wilcox scored 12 each.

    Los Angeles players pointed to the Grizzlies' defense and Brown's 10-man rotation as the keys to the game. Memphis had 13 steals, five blocks and harassed the Clippers into 39.5 percent shooting.

    "All their deflections really hurt us," Brand said. "They had a lot of strips, and they weren't fouls. They were clean. That's how they win so many games, they play you tough on defense."

    Memphis struggled to open the fourth, committing turnovers and hitting only two of 12 shots. Los Angeles took advantage with a 13-2 run, the last two buckets by Richardson giving the Clippers a 78-77 lead.

    But Gasol and Wells got untracked, and the Memphis fans were able to enjoy the final minute of the win.

    "We realized they were up one, and we had been ahead by 10 the whole game," Gasol said. "We had to execute and get the ball where it was supposed to be."

    Memphis led 47-39 at the half behind Williams' 11 points.

    The Grizzlies built the lead to 15 in the third period, until a mini-run by the Clippers cut the advantage to seven on at least two occasions. Memphis maintained a 72-63 after the third.

    "I just think they are ahead of us," Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy said. "They're 10 guys deep. They defend. They're more experienced, and they've got a good thing going."

    Game notes

    Prior to the game, the Grizzlies held a moment of silence for the victims of Thursday's terrorist attacks in Madrid. The Memphis players also wore black armbands and headbands, and Gasol, from Barcelona, had a black ribbon on the shoulder of his jersey. ...Gasol's rebound total included nine offensive boards, tying a career high. ...The Clippers activated G Doug Overton and placed G Marko Jaric on the injured list with a left foot injury. ...Maggette got a technical for slamming the ball after a non-call in the second quarter. ...Less than two minutes later, Wells and Bobby Simmons got double-techs for mouthing at each other leaving the court at a timeout. ...Memphis is now 28-2 when leading entering the fourth quarter, undefeated in March (6-0) and 26-7 since the first of the year.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 89 98
    FGM-FGA 32-81 (.395) 35-80 (.438)
    3PM-3PA 2-9 (.222) 6-13 (.462)
    FTM-FTA 23-29 (.793) 22-33 (.667)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 16-46 15-49
    Assists 18 23
    Turnovers 17 14
    Steals 10 13
    Blocks 9 5
    Fast Break Points 3 3
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 25 (3/0) 21 (1/0)

    Top Performers

    Los Angeles
    Quentin Richardson Richardson
    Points: 25
    Reb: 11
    Ast: 5
    Stl: 2
    Blk: 0
    Pau Gasol Gasol
    Points: 24
    Reb: 18
    Ast: 6
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 2