Wow, that game between the LA Clippers and the shorthanded Memphis Grizzlies was a barnburner and instant classic. Even though they were shorthanded, the Grizzlies put up a strong fight and had three players score at least 24 points: Jaren Jackson Jr. (24), Tyus Jones (25) and Desmond Bane (30).
Although the Clippers had a nine-point lead by halftime, the Grizzlies exploded in the third quarter and outscored their opponents 51-30 to create an extraordinary 26-point turnaround.
However, the even bigger surprise was that the Clippers were able to take that gut punch and roar back to a furious rally in the fourth quarter, erasing what was a 15-point lead heading into the final stanza and winning 135-129.
The Clippers, who had gone 0-5 before meeting the Grizzlies, were led by their two superstars. Paul George led all scorers with 42 points, 11 rebounds, three assists and a steal. His stellar shot making helped the Clippers rally in the fourth, and he made multiple key plays on both ends of the floor in crunch time to help the team get stops and make buckets in clutch time.
Kawhi Leonard was no slouch either, finishing with 34 points, 10 rebounds, four assists and a steal. The Klaw was the one who gave them a go-ahead bucket with just under four minutes left in the game, and they never relinquished the lead again after that.
The desperately-needed victory was huge for the Clippers, who have seen themselves fall into the play-in spots with a 34-33 record in what continues to be an unbelievably close race for seeding in the Western Conference. That keeps them within striking distance of a guaranteed playoff spot, as the Clippers are still only six games behind the second-place Grizzlies out west.
The Clippers have four more games left on their homestand, where they’ll face the Toronto Raptors, New York Knicks, Golden State Warriors and Orlando Magic. They’ll be hoping both George and Leonard can continue to contribute well during that stretch, as they also won’t be facing any back-to-back games in that stretch.