Randolph's 1st triple-double leads Grizzlies past
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) Zach Randolph returned from a seven-game absence and promptly recorded his first career triple-double to help the Memphis Grizzlies snap a losing streak.
Randolph had 28 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists as the Grizzlies beat the Los Angeles Clippers 113-102 on Saturday night in a game that very well could be a preview of a first-round matchup in the Western Conference playoffs.
''I ain't had fun like this in a long time,'' said Randolph, who was 10 of 19 from the field.
Tony Allen added 22 for Memphis, while Ray McCallum, with the Grizzlies on a 10-day contract because of a rash of injuries, added 14, including seven in the fourth quarter. Lance Stephenson had 12 points and JaMychal Green finished with 11 as Memphis snapped a four-game losing streak.
''(Randolph) came in on a mission,'' Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. ''He led them, but I thought that him and Tony Allen were just the two toughest guys on the floor. So, you deserve to lose when that happens.''
Chris Paul had 25 points and six assists for the Clippers, while DeAndre Jordan added 16 points and seven rebounds. Paul Pierce contributed 12 points and Austin Rivers finished with 10.
The Clippers currently hold the fourth seed, while Memphis is in the fifth spot, setting up the potential first-round matchup.
Injured point guard Mike Conley told Randolph he needed only one assist for the triple-double during a timeout with 1:40 left.
''I was kind of geeked,'' Randolph said.
On the next possession, Randolph connected with Allen on a cut to the basket with 1:26 left.
''He can't say I never done nothing for him,'' said Allen, who was 7 of 10 from the floor.
It was an emotional lift for Memphis, which had lost its last two games to Minnesota and Milwaukee while dealing with an array of injuries, including Conley, starting center Marc Gasol and several reserves.
''It was a culmination of all the hard work these guys have put in,'' said Memphis coach Dave Joerger, who has a roster with four 10-day players. ''They've stuck together and just stayed with it.''
The Clippers, who trailed by 11 with 8:23 left in the game, cut into the advantage at the free throw line, making six straight. Paul's 13-footer completed an 8-0 run and Memphis' advantage was down to 91-88 with just under 7 minutes left.
Randolph and McCallum took over at that point, combining for all but two of Memphis' points in an 11-2 rally for a 102-90 lead, ending the Clippers' chances.
''The bottom line is that they came in and kicked our butts,'' Rivers said.
After a first half with eight ties and 10 lead changes, the teams were deadlocked 58-all at the break. Memphis caused seven Los Angeles turnovers in the third quarter to take an 85-75 lead into the fourth.
''It's a team win,'' Randolph said. ''If we go out and compete, that's all we can do and give it 100 percent. .Whatever happens, it happens.''
Clippers: Los Angeles is 12-6 when Pierce has multiple 3s. ... Los Angeles had won the last three matchups in the overall series, including a 94-92 home victory on Nov. 9.
Grizzlies: Memphis played without F Matt Barnes, who was suspended by the league earlier Saturday for his actions at the end of Thursday's loss at Milwaukee. ... In addition to Randolph, Vince Carter returned to action after missing four games with left calf strain. ... Randolph's previous best assists was eight in 2005. ... Memphis' win tied the overall series at 39.
Randolph's title as a double-double machine is intact, but his reputation as a ''black hole'' from earlier in his career seemed to make a triple-double unlikely. ''They told me to shoot it every time when I was in Portland,'' he said with a laugh, then added: ''My assist game has been going up. I can pass the ball very well.'' Joerger added: ''I can't believe he's never gotten (a triple-double) before. It does go to show you how his game has evolved.''
Forward Jeff Green left the game near the midway point of the third quarter with a cut on his head and did not return. He caught an inadvertent elbow from Randolph, causing a wound that took eight stitches to close. ''I can't tell you how it happened,'' Green said. ''All I know is that I was pushed, caught an elbow and saw all the blood.''
Clippers: Visit New Orleans Pelicans on Sunday.
Grizzlies: Visit Phoenix Suns on Monday.