Chris Paul Clippers
Los Angeles Clippers guard Chris Paul (left) takes the ball away from Memphis Grizzlies forward Zach Randolph (50) during the second quarter at Staples Center. Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

LOS ANGELES – Move over Western Conference, here come the Clippers! The Los Angeles Clippers defeated a depleted Memphis Grizzlies team 94-86 on Saturday to move into second place in the Western Conference playoff race.

Blake Griffin and J.J. Redick each scored 18 points and the Clippers closed on a 22-to-11 run down the stretch to down the gritty Grizzlies.

“Guys stepped up and made shots,” said Griffin. “Chris [Paul] made shots, DeAndre [Jordan] made free throws. J.J. [Redick] made shots, and Matt [Barnes] made plays. It was a collective effort. It is never easy to get a win against these guys, but we fought down the stretch.”

Chris Paul had 15 points and 14 assists and DeAndre Jordan did his best impression of a windshield wiper as he cleaned up the glass again grabbing 16 rebounds to go with his 16 points.

“The game was sloppy,” added Jordan. “We knew we were not going to score a ton of points. They [Memphis] are a great defensive team. We just needed as many grind-out plays that we could have, offensively and defensively.”

The Clippers had five players in double figures as Jamal Crawford scored 11 points off the bench albeit on 3 for 11 shooting from the floor.

“He is just trying to get his rhythm back,” said Clippers head coach Doc Rivers of Crawford. “His impact was shown in the play when Austin [Rivers] got an easy layup because of Jamal’s presence on the floor. They left Zach Randolph on an island guarding a point guard. Those are the things Jamal contributes to our offense when he does not score. Those are assists for us.”

Memphis played without Mike Conley Jr, Marc Gasol and Tony Allen, but the injury plagued Grizzlies still led 75-74 with just under eight minutes in the game.

Zach Randolph had a team-high 21 points and 13 rebounds.

“Any time one of your best players goes out, that changes a lot, but we still had a chance to win the game,” said Randolph. “A couple mistakes here and there and a couple of rebounds here and there and it could have gone either way.”

Jeff Green had 15 points, Courtney Lee contributed 11 and Beno Udrih had 14 starting in place of Conley.

“The West is just tough, when the opportunities for me come I have to go out there and play my game,” said Udrih. “I need to knock down shots, make the right play, and not put any extra pressure on myself.”

With the victory, the Clippers move into a three-way tie with Memphis and the San Antonio Spurs for the second-seed in the Western Conference. The Clippers move as high as the number two seed or as low as the number six seed in their last two games of the season on Monday and Tuesday.

“We would like to be second in the Western Conference. It would be nice to get that two seed,” said Redick after the game. “Obviously we are going to need some help. It has been an interesting season in terms of the flow of our team and the wins and the losses. But we are playing our best at the right time and feel like we can beat anybody.”

Game Notes:
NY Giants receiver, Odell Beckham Jr. was in courtside for the game and threw out t-shirts to the Staples Center crowd during a time out in the fourth quarter. Beckham Jr. is friends with Clippers point guard Chris Paul who gave away court side seats to fans in Section 114 for their loyalty and dedication to the team.

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