MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP)—A brief third-quarter evacuation of FedExForum turned out to be the change of pace the Memphis Grizzlies needed.
A broken water line in the fire sprinkler system triggered the arena’s alarm system, forcing players, fans and officials outside for approximately 20 minutes. When play resumed, the Grizzlies rallied from a 13-point deficit to beat the Los Angeles Clippers, 104-102 on Tuesday night.
Rudy Gay(notes) and Marc Gasol(notes) each scored 24 points, Zach Randolph(notes) added 20, and the Grizzlies snapped the Clippers’ four-game winning streak. The Grizzlies won their sixth straight at home.
The Grizzlies overcame Baron Davis’(notes) triple-double, an 18-point deficit and the 36-minute delay. The Clippers led 89-77 with 47 seconds left in the third quarter when the building was cleared. When play resumed, the Grizzlies outscored the Clippers 27-13.
“It was a little bit of adversity, something a little different,” Grizzlies guard O.J. Mayo(notes) said. “I just wanted to get back and start hoopin.’ I didn’t want them to call the game or postpone it.
“For some reason, it just seemed like it gave us a second chance. We were down 12 at the time. But this team has been through a lot of adversity so it was nothing new for us. We just had to stick together, go out there and play hard.”
Davis had 27 points, 12 rebounds and 12 assists for the Clippers, who played without starting center Chris Kaman(notes) because of a back injury. Starting forward Marcus Camby(notes) missed the second half with a stomach virus. Kaman’s replacement, DeAndre Jordan(notes), had a season-high 23 points.
Memphis (19-18) didn’t take its first lead until a fast-break dunk by Gay gave the Grizzlies a 102-100 advantage with 1:39 to go. Rasual Butler(notes) had an opportunity to win it, but missed a 3-point attempt from the corner at the buzzer.
“During the whole game we were trying to chip away at their lead,” Gay said. “They were playing great, but I guess we had a better mindset after whatever that was that happened.”
After trailing by double digits for much of the middle two quarters, Memphis gained some momentum after the delay. The Grizzlies opened the fourth quarter with a 12-2 run and tied the game at 94 on the following possession. The game was tied three more times before Gay’s slam and Randolph’s fadeaway made it 104-100.
“(The delay) had nothing to do with us losing,” said Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy. “We came back in the fourth quarter. We got beat to loose balls and offensive rebounds.”
Kaman, the Western Conference player of the week, had a sore lower back he aggravated during pregame warmups. Jordan stepped in and scored 13 of points— matching a season high—in the first quarter.
Davis posted the first triple-double for the Clippers in seven years, but it wasn’t enough to beat a Grizzlies team that improved to 12-5 at home and 7-0 against opponents with losing records.
“I just had a feeling that if we kept after it then maybe something would break our way,” Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins said. “We finally found a bit of offense.”
The Clippers led 37-26 after the first quarter and stretched their lead to 18 points in the second quarter. They were up 65-52 at the half, scoring 44 points in the paint and shooting 67.5 percent. The Clippers shot 54 percent for game and scored 66 points in the paint.
The Grizzlies made a run in the third quarter to trim the deficit to 75-72, but the Clippers scored 13 of the game’s next 15 points to go up 88-74.
NOTES: Davis’ triple-double was the first by a Clippers player since Elton Brand(notes) recorded one Jan. 26, 2003, against Indiana. It was the 10th triple-double of Davis’ career and his first in two years. … Gasol (shoulder contusion) and point guard Mike Conley(notes) (lower back contusion) were last-minute additions to the starting lineup. Conley missed the team’s loss at Charlotte on Saturday… . Memphis is 9-2 in games following a defeat since opening the season with a 1-8 record.