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Giricek scores season-high 31 for Memphis

1/4/2003

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) -- The Memphis Grizzlies avoided
embarrassment by depending on rookie Gordan Giricek down the
stretch.

The Grizzlies let a 32-point first-half lead slip through their
hands Friday night, and had to depend on the fourth-quarter
shooting of Giricek, who scored a career-high 31 to defeat the Los
Angeles Clippers 116-111.

"It would have been a heartbreaker if we weren't able to hold
on to that game," Memphis coach Hubie Brown said.

Giricek's had 11 points in the final; period -- included eight in
a row -- as the Grizzlies handed the Clippers their fifth straight
defeat. His points total was the most this season by a Memphis
player.

"We got in a bad hole, and we can't get 15 and 20 points down
and think we can come back," Clippers forward Lamar Odom said.
"They were hitting their shots.

"Giricek is one of the reasons we couldn't get into the game.
He hit some big shots and kept us at a distance."

The Clippers whittled the Grizzlies' 25-point halftime lead down
with a 40-point third quarter. Elton Brand and Corey Maggette had
12 in the quarter to lead Los Angeles.

When Maggette hit a desperation shot at the buzzer to end the
third period, the lead was cut to 90-86.

Maggette hit a 3-pointer with 10:04 left to give the Clippers
their first lead of the game at 94-93.

"If we could have played like we did in the second half, we
could have won," Maggette said. "We've got to go out and play
harder. It's not the coach's fault, it's our fault as players."

The two teams exchanged leads, with the Clipper in front by as
many as five points until the Grizzlies, led by Giricek, outscored
Los Angeles 17-7 in the final 4:53.

"We did a great job," Brown said of his team's play at the
end. "Not a good job, but a great job. We pulled together
defensively. We held them to one shot, and Gordan hit his shots."

Jason Williams had 17 points and 13 assists, while Pau Gasol had
16 points and Lorenzen Wright had 15. Wright and Gasol had 13
rebounds each.

Maggette led the Clippers with 34 points -- his career-high -- on
10-of-19 from the field, including 5-of-8 from beyond the 3-point
arc. Maggette had 22 in the second half to lead the Clippers'
comeback. Brand added 25 points for Los Angeles, including 16 in
the second half. Brand also had 14 rebounds. Odom scored 21 for the
Clippers.

The Grizzlies held a 71-46 lead at halftime, the most points
scored by Memphis in a half this season, and the largest halftime
lead in franchise history. The Grizzlies shot 60.4 percent in the
opening half, hitting 29-of-48 shots. That included 5-of-8 from
3-point range.

Maggette led Los Angeles with 12 off the bench in the half,
while Odom scored 10.

The Clippers' second half run came too late, and Maggette said
it is time for the Clippers to turn their game around.

"We've got to try and make something happen or we're going to
be the laughing stock of the league,"
he said.

Game notes
The Grizzlies' 71 first-half points was one short of the
franchise record set Jan. 16, 1998, against the Wizards. ... The 71
was the most allowed by the Clippers in a half, eclipsing the 68
scored by the Mavericks Dec. 10. ... Michael Olowokandi did not
play because of a sore left knee. It was the first game he has
missed this season. ... The Odom-Brand-Rooks-Miller-Richardson
starting lineup was the ninth different opening combination for the
Clippers. ... Richardson left the game after playing only three
minutes with a sprained left ankle. ... Memphis G Wesley Person,
the league's leading 3-point shooter, missed his third game with a
fractured right index finger. Memphis coach Hubie Brown said before
the game that doctors would like to rest Person, who is on injured
reserve, at least two more weeks. ... Memphis has won seven of its
last eight home games, but is 1-13 on the road. ... Williams' 13
assists tied his season high in that category.