Grizzlies 104, Clippers 83

Ron Higgins, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

MEMPHIS -- Forward Marc Gasol of the Memphis Grizzlies was named the NBA's best defensive player earlier this week.
Gasol showed that his offense can't exactly be ignored on Saturday at FedExForum in the Grizzlies' 104-83 victory in Game 4 that tied their Western Conference series with the Los Angeles Clippers.
Gasol scored 18 of his 24 points in the second half, after Zach Randolph, the other half of the Grizzlies' one-two inside punch, scored 16 of his 24 in the first half.
The series, tied 2-2, returns to Los Angeles for Game 5 on Tuesday.
Saturday's victory assured there will be a game 6 in Memphis on Friday.
The Clippers were led by Blake Griffin and Chris Paul, who each scored 19 points.
The Grizzlies started the game fast and rarely looked back.
Tayshaun Prince, who had barely been a blip on the Grizzlies' offensive radar, hit his first three shots. That was a great sign for Memphis' offensive aggressiveness out of the gate, as the Grizzlies built a double-digit lead.
The Grizzlies made quick, definitive decisions on offense, especially Zach Randolph, who negated double teams on the block.
Memphis shot 54.2 percent from field and had a 13-6 rebounding advantage in taking a 33-25 lead at the end of the first quarter.
It didn't bode well for the Grizzlies that they had their lead cut immediately in the second quarter by the Clippers' bench, which worked over the Memphis bench.
Most of the damage came with only one Griz starter, Mike Conley, on the floor.
Even with the Grizzlies putting four of five starters on the floor the last three minutes, they began losing momentum.
Paul began getting to the basket almost any time he felt like it, and the one-time Grizzlies' 12-point lead was gone with one final Paul drive giving the Clippers a 47-46 lead at halftime.
The Clippers' bench outscored the Griz reserves, 25-6 in first half.
Gasol finally became engaged offensively in the third quarter. Realizing he could score easily on DeAndre Jordan, Gasol finally began looking for his own shot, scoring 14 points in the quarter.
Rookie Tony Wroten made his second appearance in the series late in the quarter to inject some fresh legs and energy.
Thanks to Gasol's buzzer-beating basket, the Grizzlies led, 71-67, at the end of three and pulled away from there.
NOTES: Veteran guard Keyon Dooling did not play for the Grizzlies0 because of sprained neck muscle. Dooling has played aggressive and unafraid in the series so far, averaging 4.3 points while hitting 3-of-6 3-pointers. Grizzlies' coach Lionel Hollins gave "the young fella," referring to rookie guard Tony Wroten, the first shot at replacing starting point guard Mike Conley when Conley need breathers. Wroten had two points in fiver minutes. It's Hollins' intent to never have a lineup composed of all bench players on the floor at once. He prefers at least a two-thirds starters to bench players ratio. ... Clippers' coach Vinny Del Negro said there are no secrets at this point. "They know what we do and we know what they do," Del Negro said. "It's a matter of making plays at the right moment."