LOS ANGELES (AP)—Tim Thomas and Aaron Williams played quality minutes for the Los Angeles Clippers, while two of the starters were in foul trouble. That made it easier for Corey Maggette to do his thing.
Maggette had 30 points and 10 rebounds and the Clippers beat Memphis 100-86 on Wednesday night, sending the Grizzlies to their 11th straight road loss.
Thomas added 17 points in a reserve role, and Williams helped the Clippers extend a four-point lead to 82-68 during the final 10:34 of the third quarter after center Chris Kaman picked up his fourth foul on an offensive charge.
“Aaron is a great player. He just doesn’t get the opportunities that every other big guy gets,” Kaman said. “He’s been playing in this league a long time, he’s made his mark and he knows how to do it. He came in and did a great job.”
Rookie Al Thornton had 13 points before fouling out for the second time in 14 NBA starts with 3:21 to play.
“I’ve got to learn how to stay on the floor. I’ve got to learn my referees and how they call the game,” said Thornton, the Clippers’ first-round draft pick. “I feel pretty good out there, but I’m still kind of having trouble on the defensive end, using my hands. But those guys did a great job for us and held down the fort.”
The well-rested Kaman scored nine of his 11 points in the fourth quarter. He finished with seven rebounds, but the Clippers improved to 3-10 when he doesn’t get a double-double.
Rudy Gay led Memphis with 21 points and Hakim Warrick added 20. The Grizzlies’ road losing streak is their longest since the 2000-01 season when they dropped 15 straight during the team’s final season in Vancouver.
Los Angeles and Memphis both are last in their respective divisions. The major difference is, the Clippers have a chance to escape the basement before season’s end. They trail Sacramento by six games in the Pacific, while the Grizzlies are an insurmountable 19 1/2 games behind Houston in the Southwest.
“We don’t have a lot of wins to begin with, but we had a good team effort tonight and Corey did a good job on the boards,” Kaman said. “They aren’t that great, neither are we, but we were able to beat them. They were without Mike Miller as well, but even without him, they were struggling.”
The Grizzlies, who blew a 19-point lead in Tuesday’s 108-101 loss at Seattle, squandered a 12-point advantage in the first half as the Clippers used a 15-5 second-quarter run to take a 51-47 lead at intermission.
“We were just sloppy,” Gay said. “It was a tough game all around. We thought we had them, but they just took the wind out of our sails. They went on a run, and it was hard for us to get back after that.”
Maggette scored 13 points in the second quarter after spending the final 6 minutes of the opening period on the bench with two fouls. Thomas gave Los Angeles its first lead at 42-41 on a 12-footer with 3:47 left in the half.
“Winning still matters,” Thomas said. “You don’t want to say the season is over right now. You play until it is over. We don’t want to quit right now just because we had some injuries at the start of the season.”
Clippers point guard Sam Cassell, the subject of recent trade talk, wasn’t surprised he was still with the team on the eve of Thursday’s trade deadline.
“Nothing surprises me in this league,” Cassell said. “Until (agent) David Falk calls me and says, `Sam, you’re here or you’re there,’ I’ll go on with my life. I’m not going to lose any sleep about it. I don’t want to go, but I’m not ruling it out.”
The Clippers host Utah on Friday night and will make their 14th attempt to win consecutive games for the first time since opening the season 4-0. … Memphis is 1-7 since trading Pau Gasol to the Lakers on Feb. 1 for Kwame Brown and rookie Javaris Crittenton. … The Grizzlies are 2-26 when scoring fewer than 100 points, as opposed to 12-14 when scoring 100 or more. … The Clippers shot 45 percent against a Memphis defense that came in allowing a league-high 45.9 field goal percentage by its opponents. … The Clippers had assists on 28 of their 36 field goals.