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Clippers 101, Grizzlies 92

The SportsXchange

LOS ANGELES -- Lost in the hype of two other major Los Angeles arrivals -- with the Lakers' Dwight Howard and Steve Nash demanding most of the attention during the offseason -- Jamal Crawford's signing by the Los Angeles Clippers went largely unnoticed.

Crawford found the spotlight Wednesday.

The 32-year-old guard had a game-high 29 points, and the Clippers broke away from the Memphis Grizzlies late to take a 101-92 win at Staples Center in the season opener for both teams.

Crawford, who played nearly 30 minutes of the bench, led six Clippers in double figures. The balanced scoring compensated for off nights from both Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, who combined for 23 points on 8-of-20 shooting. Paul had 12 assists for Los Angeles, which committed 22 turnovers, including nine by center DeAndre Jordan.

With Crawford leading the way, the Clippers' bench outscored the Grizzlies' reserves 49-17.

Rudy Gay had 25 points and Marc Gasol added 20 for Memphis, which shot 38 percent from the field and 2-for-14 from 3-point range.

A rematch of the teams' hotly contested 2012 first-round playoff matchup, the game was chippy from the start. Both teams doled out hard fouls, and the score remained close for much of the game. A Crawford 3-pointer with 2:41 left put the Clippers up by six, though, and the Grizzlies never got closer.

The Clippers controlled most of the first half before the Grizzlies moved in front with a late run.

Los Angeles led by 12 with just less than five minutes left in the second quarter, but the Grizzlies chipped away quickly. Memphis tied the score less than three minutes later and eventually went into the locker room up 53-49.

Gasol had 14 points on 6-of-8 shooting in the first half, while Gay added 12 points for the Grizzlies, who forced 15 Los Angeles turnovers.

Crawford, brought in by the Clippers from Atlanta to provide instant offense off the bench, lived up to his billing. Crawford had 15 first-half points to lead all scorers, bolstering a starting lineup that provided just 22 points through two quarters.

Griffin had just five points and four rebounds in the first half, and Paul added just three points as the Clippers scored only three points in the last 4 minutes, 54 seconds of the half.

NOTES: Clippers forward Matt Barnes missed the game because of a one-game suspension from the NBA for his offseason arrest. He pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor charge after a run-in with a Manhattan Beach, Calif., police officer. ... Los Angeles veterans Chauncey Billups (Achilles) and Grant Hill (knee) also were sidelined. ... Grizzlies forward Zach Randolph had 10 first-half rebounds but shot 3-for-11 from the field before the break.
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