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Grizzlies outmuscle Clippers

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LOS ANGELES -- The number of times the Memphis Grizzlies and Los Angeles Clippers play each other in the regular season, coupled with their two memorable playoffs encounters the past two years, makes for quite a cozy relationship, if not a volatile one.

That intimate knowledge creates interesting matchups. The teams' first regular-meeting was no exception, as the Grizzlies hung on for a 106-102 victory Monday in front of a sellout crowd of 19,060 at Staples Center.

The game featured the first-quarter ejection of Memphis guard Tony Allen. The 31-year-old veteran kicked Chris Paul in the side of the face with his outstretched leg as he jumped to defend the Clippers point guard. Allen was assessed a flagrant 2 foul.

Forward Zach Randolph and center Marc Gasol were up to their usual tricks against Los Angeles, combining for 49 points and 24 rebounds, and the rugged Grizzlies forced the Clippers into 39.5 percent field-goal shooting while holding them eight points under their season average.

"It's a stars' league and Marc and Zach were tremendous," Grizzlies coach Dave Joerger said. "They're a tremendous team, so to get up for them is not hard, and certainly, we've played each other enough times to know one another."

Randolph said beating Los Angeles comes down to a simple formula.

"We try and get stops," he said. "The Clippers, they're are one of the best teams in the West, and they want to get into transition. But we just want to get stops."

By grounding the normally high flying Clippers to a near halt, the Grizzlies (6-5) took an early lead and then withstood a handful of runs to hold on for the win.

"I thought we did a poor job coming out and doing the things we talked about," Clippers forward Blake Griffin said. "We just fell into that slow grind, and it's not going to work for us like we talked about. We can play that way, but not as well as we can the other way."

Paul said, "They were just coming down, running their offense doing what they wanted to do. We want to get up and down, play fast. When we did get stops, we were able to do that, but for the most part, they came down, swung it, posted it and stuff like that."

Los Angeles twice crept within four points over the final 30 seconds, but Randolph hit two free throws and then broke loose for an uncontested layup to keep the Clippers at arm's length.

"We just like to compete," Randolph said. "They have most of the same players; we have most of our same players. And basically they have one of the best coaches in the league, and we just want to compete."

Griffin had 23 points and 11 rebounds for the Clippers (7-4). Paul had 18 points, 11 assists and nine rebounds, though he finished 5-for-14 from the field. Guard J.J. Redick and forward Matt Barnes both had 12 points for Los Angeles.

"Blake and Chris are going to do what they do," Randolph said. "We want to stop the other guys, J.J. Redick, Jamal Crawford, guys like that."

Clippers center DeAndre Jordan, who had his issues over the years matching up against the Grizzlies' physical frontcourt, finished with eight points and 16 rebounds.

Guard Mike Conley added 15 points for the Grizzlies, who got a game-high 26 points and 15 boards from Randolph. Gasol contributed 23 points, nine rebounds and eight assists.

The Grizzlies led by as many as 12 points in the first half, but the Clippers went on a 21-13 run over the final 6:44 of the second quarter to cut their deficit to 52-51 at halftime.

NOTES: Clippers F Blake Griffin earned NBA Player of the Week honors, the league announced Monday. ... The Clippers began the night with an NBA-leading average of 110 points per game, all part of new coach Doc Rivers' focus on up-tempo offense and quick shots. Of course, that comes with a whole set of other issues, as the quicker a team shoots, the sooner the other team gets a chance to do the same. "You're probably going to have to play defense more," Rivers said. "The old adage is if you want to see a great defensive team, especially in college, watch how often they shoot at (the end) of the shot clock."
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