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Miller sparks Grizzlies late in win over Clippers

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- The Los Angeles Clippers were preoccupied
with trying to work Corey Maggette back into their lineup. The
Memphis Grizzlies were busy knocking down big shots in the second
half.

Pau Gasol had 17 points, seven assists and six rebounds, and
Mike Miller scored 12 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter to
lead the Grizzlies to a 102-86 victory Sunday night.

"Their defense is much improved, and we understood that,"
Miller said. "But we got a lot of defensive stops, we got out in
transition and didn't have to deal with their halfcourt defense.
It's a lot different when they're scrambling and trying to find
shooters. We got some open looks and knocked them down."

Memphis shot 57 percent against the Clippers, who held the New
Orleans Hornets to an NBA record-low 16 second-half points and one
field goal over the final 20 minutes in their previous home game
last Wednesday. The Grizzlies missed 19 of their final 23 field
goal attempts against the Clippers in the previous meeting, a 91-87
loss on Feb. 10 at Los Angeles.

"It was a totally different game down the stretch for us, the
way we closed it out," Gasol said. "We had much more confidence
and we were shooting the ball extremely well. We moved the ball
well, we penetrated well and attacked the basket. They were coming
at me so quick on the double-team in the post, so I was just trying
to make the right passes."

Bobby Jackson added 15 points for the Grizzlies, who climbed
within a half-game of the fifth-place Clippers in the Western
Conference with their third straight victory and seventh in 10
games.

Elton Brand, who tied a career high with 44 points against the
Grizzlies last month, had 23 points in the rematch.

Maggette played 20 minutes in his first home game since Dec. 5
and scored six points. He separated a ligament in his left foot in
a loss to Miami that night, then missed the next 39 games before
returning to the lineup with 12 points in Friday's 105-103 loss at
Utah.

"It's only my second game back, so the more I play, the more
it's going to get better," Maggette said. "You just try to fit in
with what Coach is doing right now and get back to where I need to
be."

Maggette, who received a standing ovation from the crowd of
16,796 when he entered the game with 27 seconds left in the first
quarter, was 0-for-3 in the opening half and finished 1-for-5. He
had 12 points in 25 minutes Friday, and is 4-for-16 from the field
since returning to the lineup.

"We've have chemistry that we've been building with him not
playing, so we're trying to fit him in," Clippers center Chris
Kaman said. "People can't be so critical of him. I mean, let him
play three or five games. Corey's a great player, but he hasn't
played in three months, so you've got to give him some time to get
back into the swing of things."

Memphis, playing for the first time since last Wednesday's
victory over New York, outscored Los Angeles 11-0 during a 4:06
span to turn a three-point deficit into a 73-65 lead with 3:22 left
in the third quarter.

"We just weren't there tonight, defensively," Kaman said.
"They got a lot of easy stuff off the dribble, taking it to the
hole. Our rotations weren't where we were supposed to be, and
coverages got messed up a lot."

The Clippers got as close as seven points in the fourth, but
Miller helped fuel a 17-7 run with 10 points, including a 3-pointer
that extended the Grizzlies' margin to 98-81 with 3:21 to play.

"His long-range shot really hurt us," Brand said. "His
3-bombs were devastating. Every time we scored and tried to make a
run, he pulled up on the break and knocked one down. And that put
it out of reach. But the defense was terrible against Miller. We
didn't help out enough on the screens and he was getting open
looks. It was disappointing, because we know he's a shooter."

Memphis began a four-game road trip that continues Monday at
Denver, where the Grizzlies have lost 16 straight. The trip ends
next Friday against the Sacramento Kings, who have won their last
10 home games.<^Notes:@ Brand was one of 21 NBA players named
Sunday to the preliminary roster for the U.S. national team. They
will report to training camp in July and compete for the 12 roster
spots for the FIBA World Championships at Saitama, Japan, the
following month. The coach is Mike Krzyzewski, who had Brand for
two seasons at Duke. ... Clippers backup C Zeljko Rebraca missed
his third consecutive game because of a left ankle strain. ... The
Clippers' next game is against the champion San Antonio Spurs, who
have won the last eight meetings and 28 of the last 31. ... The
Grizzlies are 10-2 when they shoot at least 50 percent.

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