Grizzlies 108, Clippers 107, OT
Swift scored 20 of his season-high 24 points in the first half, and the Grizzlies needed every one. They beat the Los Angeles Clippers 108-107 Sunday night on Shane Battier’s 11-foot running jumper with 15.6 seconds left in overtime to snap an eight-game road losing streak.
Swift outscored the Memphis starters 20-18 in the first half to help the Grizzlies build a 54-49 lead.
“I tried to go in and bring energy till Pao got back in the game,” Swift said. “I was just trying to do my job and have fun at the same time. If I was open, I was just going to keep shooting the ball.”
The four-year veteran, whose previous high this season was 19 points on Nov. 29 at Cleveland, matched that total on a short turnaround jumper with 2:23 left in the second quarter.
“We didn’t put a body on him,” Clippers forward Elton Brand said. “He’s very athletic. He got a lot of offensive rebounds, a lot of easy shots, a lot of dunks, and that’s his forte. But he shouldn’t score that much on us.”
Gasol had 18 points for the Grizzlies, who got back to the .500 mark (18-18) after shooting 53.2 percent from the field. It was only the fourth time they shot at least 50 percent this season, all wins.
The Grizzlies, who beat the Clippers in Los Angeles for the first time in six tries, had not won anywhere outside of Memphis since sweeping a three-game swing through Cleveland, Boston and New Jersey Nov. 29-Dec. 3.
“We’ve been trying hard to get a win on the road, especially in the West,” Gasol said. “We’ve got to fight and get some more wins on the road if we want to get somewhere.”
Marko Jaric had a season-high 23 points and eight assists for the Clippers. Brand had 17 points and 12 rebounds before fouling out with 2:56 left in overtime.
“One of the refs told me that one of the fouls in the first half shouldn’t have been called on me. So without that one, maybe I could have still been out there,” Brand said. “We fought hard to get a lead in overtime, but then we let it slip away.”
Jaric opened the OT with a 3-pointer, giving the Clippers their first lead since late in the first quarter. The lead changed hands four more times before Battier made his second field goal of the game for the game-winner. Maggette drove the lane against Battier on the Clippers’ final possession, but missed a layup with 1.8 seconds on the clock.
“This was a tough one to let get away,” Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy said. “I like that we didn’t give up in the game. We were down by 10 points in the fourth quarter, but the guys really played hard and did the things we needed to do so that we would have the opportunity for overtime.”
Corey Maggette, returning from a two-game suspension following his fight with New Jersey’s Kenyon Martin, had 21 points. Quentin Richardson, who sat out Friday’s win at Toronto because of a sprained right hand, played 15 minutes and missed all three shots he took before leaving the game with 9:14 left in the first half.
“It just wasn’t up to the level where I was going to be able to be effective,” Richardson said. “I didn’t know it until I actually got in the game. When you’re shooting around before the game, it’s not the same.”
The Grizzlies, who blew a 17-point first-quarter lead in Friday night’s 122-116 loss at Seattle, took a 98-88 lead with 2:17 left in regulation as Jason Williams hit a 16-footer with coach Hubie Brown screaming at him to milk the clock.
But the Clippers sent it into overtime with a 12-2 run. Reserve Bobby Simmons converted a three-point play, Maggette sank two free throws, Jaric drained a 3-pointer from the top of the key and then hit a driving layup with 3 seconds on the clock. Gasol missed a driving layup at the buzzer.
“I thought Jaric was absolutely terrific—not only the 23 points, but also the big plays,” Brown said. “He was a handful down the stretch. He made excellent decisions with the basketball.”
The third quarter ended in spectacular fashion for the Clippers when reserve guard Eddie House banked in a desperation heave at the buzzer from just insidethe midcourt line to trim the Grizzlies’ lead to 73-70.
Swift scored a career-high 31 points on Apr. 17, 2002, at Seattle. … Former Clipper Darius Miles, in town a day early for Cleveland’s game against the Lakers, received a warm reception from the crowd of 13,618 as he shook hands with the game crew at courtside during a timeout in the second quarter…. Clippers G Doug Overton didn’t play because of a sprained left foot.