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Grizzlies-Clippers Preview

AP - Sports

With their longest winning streak in six seasons over, the Memphis Grizzlies were able to catch their collective breath and are ready to move forward.

The Grizzlies look to bounce back from their first defeat in two weeks when they visit Chris Paul and the Los Angeles Clippers on Thursday night.

Playing their second straight game and fourth in five days, Memphis (10-7) struggled to find energy as its seven-game winning streak ended with a 97-84 loss at Portland on Tuesday. The Grizzlies, who averaged 102.0 points and shot 49.6 percent during that winning stretch, missed their first 12 shots of the third quarter en route to a 37.8-percent shooting performance for the night.

"We're fatigued, we're tired," coach Lionel Hollins said. "When you're a little bit fatigued it's hard to keep attacking. You want to settle. We settled a little too much."

O.J. Mayo scored 20 points off the bench while Memphis' starters were held to 36 points on 15-of-51 shooting. Rudy Gay, averaging a team-leading 18.4 points, was limited to 11.

The Grizzlies, who had a day off Wednesday to rest and regroup, don't plan to use fatigue as an excuse now or at any point during the rest of this condensed NBA season.

"We just have to continue to fight, and that's what we're going to do," veteran swingman Tony Allen told the Grizzlies' official website.

The Grizzlies, who last dropped two in a row during the three-game skid from Jan. 6-10 that preceded their winning streak, will try to avoid a third consecutive loss to the Clippers (9-6).

Gay has averaged 21.1 points on 52.6 percent shooting in 15 career games versus the Clippers, but a shoulder injury forced him to miss Memphis' final three meetings against them last season.

Mayo, the former USC star, has scored at least 20 points in two of the last three games overall, but he's totaled just 15 on 5-of-25 shooting in the last three against the Clippers.

Los Angeles looks to bounce back from a testy 96-91 loss to the rival Lakers on Wednesday that featured six technical fouls. Though Paul returned to the Clippers' lineup after missing five games with a sore hamstring, the Lakers used an 11-4 fourth-quarter run to finally take control of a game their Staples Center co-tenants led for almost all of the first 3 1/2 quarters.

Paul finished with just four points but had 12 assists in 26 minutes as coach Vinny Del Negro eased him back into action.

"I've been getting better day by day," Paul told the Clippers' official website. "(The team has) been trying to protect me from myself. I've been wanting to go for a while, but the team has been unbelievable, knowing what's in my best interest."

Paul was not at his best in his last two games against Memphis last season, totaling five points on 2-of-14 shooting while with New Orleans. Those outings came after he scored 43 in his first two contests against the Grizzlies in 2010-11.

Teammate Blake Griffin, who finished with 26 points and nine rebounds against the Lakers, had 31 and 10 boards in the Clippers' 110-103 home win over Memphis on April 13 in the teams' most recent meeting.

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