Regular Season Series (Game 2 of 4)

Series starts 2/10

Game 1: Friday, February 10th
Game 2: Sunday, March 5th
Game 3: Thursday, March 23rd
Game 4: Tuesday, April 18th

Grizzlies 102

(33-26, 14-17 away)

Clippers 86

(33-25, 20-10 home)

    Coverage: FSS

    6:00 PM ET, March 5, 2006

    STAPLES Center, Los Angeles, CA

    1 2 3 4 T
    MEM 25 26 26 25102
    LAC 30 22 16 1886

    Top Performers

    Mem: M. Miller 20 Pts, 7 Reb, 4 Ast, 3 Stl

    LAC: E. Brand 23 Pts, 4 Reb, 1 Ast, 1 Stl, 1 Blk

    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.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 102 86
    FGM-FGA 42-74 (.568) 32-76 (.421)
    3PM-3PA 7-13 (.538) 5-14 (.357)
    FTM-FTA 11-14 (.786) 17-26 (.654)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 6-38 13-32
    Assists 25 22
    Turnovers 15 14
    Steals 10 10
    Blocks 3 3
    Fast Break Points 11 4
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 22 (1/0) 17 (0/0)
    Largest Lead 17 9

    Top Performers

    Los Angeles
    Mike Miller Miller
    Points: 20
    Reb: 7
    Ast: 4
    Stl: 3
    Blk: 0
    Elton Brand Brand
    Points: 23
    Reb: 4
    Ast: 1
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 1