LOS ANGELES (AP) -- With Jason Williams on the court, the Memphis
Grizzlies have plenty of answers and options late in games.
Williams scored 10 of his 17 points in the final 6½ minutes,
including a pair of 3-pointers during a pivotal run that helped the
Grizzlies beat the Los Angeles Clippers 92-82 Sunday night.
"Jason Williams is a great point guard and a great
ballhandler," Clippers guard Corey Maggette said. "He has the
ability to split defenses and hit 3-pointers, so he opens up the
offense for them. He hit two big 3s that hurt us. If he would have
missed those shots, you never know what would have happened."
Pau Gasol scored 20 points for the Grizzlies, who have beaten
the Clippers six straight times -- including a four-game sweep last
Memphis is 6-4 since Mike Fratello took over the team on Dec. 2
following Hubie Brown's retirement. The Clippers are 3-22 against
teams coached by Fratello, including 2-12 against Atlanta and 1-9
"Anytime you make a coaching change in the middle of the
season, it is tough on both parties. But he is doing a great job
implementing his system," Memphis guard Mike Miller said. "We are
learning more. It's a growing process, but we are getting better."
The Clippers have lost five straight and six of seven, following
an 11-7 start, to drop under .500 for the first time since Nov. 21.
Maggette scored 22 points for the Clippers, 0-6 against teams
that made the playoffs last season. They committed 22 turnovers,
which the Grizzlies converted into 17 points. It was the fourth
time in seven games that Los Angeles had at least 20 turnovers.
"A lot of them were just bad decisions," coach Mike Dunleavy
said. "We didn't do a very good job of executing or being in the
Elton Brand had 19 points and 12 rebounds for Los Angeles. Bobby
Simmons scored 13 of his 14 points in third quarter, going 6-for-6
from the field in the period after getting into early foul trouble
and shooting 0-for-5 in the first half.
Miller's fourth 3-pointer of the game and 500th of his career
capped a 13-2 run that turned a two-point deficit into an 85-79
lead for Memphis with 3:06 to play. Williams, held to three baskets
in the first three quarters, made his two key shots from beyond the
arc during the spurt that included four free throws by Gasol.
James Posey helped preserve Memphis' lead by blocking Maggette's
3-point shot at the right sideline, then stripping the ball from
him 42 seconds later. Williams sealed the win with two free throws
and a layup in the final 21 seconds.
Los Angeles played without shooting guard Kerry Kittles, who was
limited to just 18 minutes the previous two games because of a back
strain that will keep him out indefinitely. Kittles missed 17 of
the Clippers' first 18 games because of a sore right knee.
Simmons, third in the NBA in field-goal percentage, made a
20-footer, a 3-pointer and a slam dunk during a 15-6 run that
turned a seven-point halftime deficit into a 54-52 lead -- the
Clippers' first advantage of the game. He finished 6-for-13 from
The Grizzlies made 12 of their first 16 shots and led 46-39 at
halftime despite 17 points by Maggette, who sat out the final 8:51
of the third quarter after getting his fourth foul. Brand's
three-point play capped an 11-1 spurt that cut the Clippers'
11-point deficit to 40-39.
"We made such a tremendous effort to get back in the game and
then we messed it up," Maggette said. "We never should have
gotten down by that much to begin with. That's the key. We weren't
playing well in the first quarter and they jumped on us."
Michael Cage, who won an NBA rebounding title during his
four years with the Clippers, is now a television analyst for the
Grizzlies. ... Grizzlies F Shane Battier, who played with Brand and
Maggette at Duke, had two points in 22 minutes after missing two
games because of a sprained right ankle. ... The Clippers were
30-for-68 after making a season-low 27 field goals in a 113-86 loss
at Minnesota on Friday.