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Clippers can't match up with Grizzlies in 105-98 loss in Game 2

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The Clippers are beaten badly on the boards and leave Memphis with the first-round series tied at 1-1. Game 3 is Saturday at Staples Center.

May 02, 2012|By Broderick Turner

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — This time, there was no comeback by the Clippers, no jubilation.

This time, it was more about how the Clippers didn't stand up enough to the physical play of the Memphis Grizzlies, didn't control many of the key areas of the game and didn't overcome the injuries that struck Los Angeles.

As a result, the Clippers lost, 105-98, to Memphis in Game 2 of the best-of-seven Western Conference first-round playoff series Wednesday night.

The Clippers return home for Games 3 (Saturday afternoon) and 4 (Monday night) at Staples Center having taken away the home-court advantage away from Memphis.

But after overcoming a 27-point deficit in Game 1 on Sunday, the Clippers didn't walk out of the FedEx Forum satisfied with the series being tied at 1-1.

"We learned about our resiliency and our fight," said Chris Paul, who had 29 points, six assists and five steals. "But I think we're madder about losing this game than we were as excited about winning Game 1. We thought we came out with the right mentality. We hit first. But it just didn't work out in our favor."

Part of it was because of Memphis' balance scoring.

The Grizzlies had six players score in double figures, led by Rudy Gay's 21 points and O.J. Mayo's 20 points off the bench.

"We're pleased that we split, but we're not happy with the way we played tonight, and we can play better," Clippers Coach Vinny Del Negro said. "So that's a good thing. There are areas we have to shore up."

Rebounding was a problem for the Clippers.

They were outrebounded 20-11 in the first half, allowing Memphis to get 11 on the offensive end.

For the game, the Grizzlies outrebounded the Clippers, 37-28. Memphis had 16 offensive rebounds, which it turned into 18 second-chance points.

"We've got to do better, especially with the rebounding situation," Paul said. "Our bigs are down there fighting. Us guards have to get in there and help them."

Blake Griffin had 22 points and nine rebounds, but he and his teammates let two big rebounds get away down the stretch.

After Marc Gasol missed a free throw, Griffin failed to box out Zach Randolph on a momentum-killing play.

Griffin then fouled Randolph, who made one of two free throws for a 100-91 Memphis lead with 46.3 seconds left.

"It's on me," Griffin said. "I've got to do a better job fighting, figuring out ways to get more rebounds."

The Clippers turned the ball over 21 times, leading to 25 points for Memphis.

"The turnovers, that starts with me," said Paul, who had five turnovers. "I've got to take care of the ball."

The Clippers saw Memphis make 31 of 39 free throws.

The Clippers were just 13 for 18 from the free-throw line.

"We've got to find a way to get to the free-throw line," Paul said. "Like I said, they shot 21 more free throws than us, and I guarantee you we were trying to be as aggressive as they were."

Then there are the injuries the Clippers have to deal with.

Eric Bledsoe suffered a left elbow contusion, Mo Williams a right forearm contusion and Nick Young a sprained right thumb.

Paul was playing with a mild left groin injury and Caron Butler suffered a fractured left hand in Game 1.

"Guys are playing through things," Paul said. "That's what you've got to do at this point in the season. So I commend those guys for their toughness and fighting through."

The game did have its testy moments, like when Paul fouled Gasol and then the two exchanged shoves and words.

"I'm going to knock him out," Paul said to the Clippers' bench.

After the game, Paul was asked about the game getting so testy.

"I didn't see it get testy," he maintained. "It's playoffs. I don't remember nothing. Just playoff basketball."

broderick.turner@latimes.com

twitter.com/BA_Turner

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