Clip­pers lose big with­out Ge­orge

Antelope Valley Press (Sunday) - - Front Page - By BETH HAR­RIS

LOS AN­GE­LES — Jae Crow­der was mak­ing shots early, putting him in a rhythm that car­ried through­out the game.

His Mem­phis team­mates fol­lowed right along and took ad­van­tage of Los An­ge­les star Paul Ge­orge’s ab­sence to rout the Clip­pers 140-114 on Satur­day.

The Griz­zlies never scored less than 25 points in each quar­ter.

“We con­trolled the tempo and got off to a big first quar­ter and scored 40 points,” said Crow­der, who scored 27 points. “We’ve had big leads this year and lost them, so we stayed ag­gres­sive and con­tin­ued to con­test the rim.”

Jaren Jack­son Jr. added 24 points, and Ja Mo­rant and Dil­lon Brooks had 22 points each to help Mem­phis im­prove to 7-10 on the road with its high­est scor­ing game of the sea­son.

“We started off great, got stops when we needed them and nearly played a com­plete 48 min­utes,” Griz­zlies coach Tay­lor Jenk­ins said. “We’re go­ing to en­joy this one. The guys were (mad) how we let a big lead get away in Sacra­mento the other night and ended up los­ing that game. “

Mon­trezl Har­rell led the Clip­pers with 28 points. Kawhi Leonard and Lou Wil­liams

added 24 points each. The team ap­peared out of sorts from the start with­out Ge­orge. He sat out with left ham­string tight­ness and Los An­ge­les clearly missed his de­fense.

The usu­ally stoic Leonard com­plained to the ref­er­ees, who hit him with a tech­ni­cal af­ter the half­time buzzer. Coach Doc Rivers stayed on court dis­cussing it and was un­happy about other calls in the game.

“I thought he had got­ten fouled a cou­ple times,” Rivers said about non-calls on Leonard. “The team with the most en­ergy gets all the calls. We were com­plain­ing and they were run­ning through us and playing hard.”

The Griz­zlies raced to an 18-point lead to open the game, high­lighted by a 16-2 run that in­cluded four 3-point­ers — three com­ing on con­sec­u­tive pos­ses­sions.

“We showed up and thought we were go­ing to win,” Rivers said. “There are no ex­cuses for the way we played.”

By the time Wil­liams made the Clip­pers’ first 3-pointer late in the sec­ond, cut­ting their deficit to seven, the Griz­zlies had al­ready con­nected on 10 3s. Los An­ge­les never got closer.

“It’s just un­ac­cept­able,” Wil­liams said. “We gave them a lot of con­fi­dence early and it went on for four quar­ters. We did get our (rear) kicked.”

Crow­der scored 14 points in the third, mak­ing two late 3-point­ers that helped ex­tend the Griz­zlies’ lead to 104-80 go­ing into the fourth. Crow­der tied ca­reer highs with six 3-point­ers and seven as­sists.

The Clip­pers made a brief run in the fourth be­hind Har­rell and Wil­liams, us­ing 10 straight points to close to 110-94. But Jack­son took over from there, scor­ing 12 points down the stretch.

“We’re con­fi­dent we can build from this win and con­tinue to get bet­ter,” Jack­son said.

The Clip­pers’ two-game win­ning streak ended. They haven’t won three in a row since Dec. 9-13.

“We’ve been playing like this the last four, five games. The last good game we played was against the Lak­ers,” Rivers said. “We got to play bet­ter.”

TIP-INS

Griz­zlies: They’ve had four straight games with at least 30 as­sists, set­ting a fran­chise record. It was their 14th game with that many as­sists, set­ting a sin­gle-sea­son fran­chise mark. ... They are 6-5 on the road against the West.

Clip­pers: It’s pos­si­ble Ge­orge could re­turn Sun­day against the Knicks in an­other day game. ... Pa­trick Bev­er­ley missed his third straight game with a sprained right wrist, but is close to be­ing back . ... Leonard sat out the teams’ first meet­ing Nov. 27, a two-point road win for the Clip­pers.

FU­TURE STAR

Mo­rant leads the league in rookie scor­ing and as­sists, and he’s got a shot at set­ting the Griz­zlies fran­chise rookie record for scor­ing av­er­age and as­sists.

“I’m not wor­ried about the All-Star Game or be­ing the rookie of the year,” he said. “My main goal is to stay hum­ble and re­main fo­cused.”

Mo­rant’s play hasn’t sur­prised Jack­son.

“I think he’s ex­ceeded ev­ery­one else’s ex­pec­ta­tions,” Jack­son said. “He’s a spe­cial tal­ent. He moves with­out the ball, gets back on de­fense, set screens and gets the ball to guys when they’re open.”

HE SAID IT

“I just don’t want us to think we’re good enough yet be­cause we’re not.” — Rivers.

NIGHTTIME IS THE RIGHT TIME

Rivers says he “hates” day games. The Clip­pers have seven more 12:30 p.m. starts this sea­son, but none oc­cur backto-back like this week­end.

“It dis­rupts your whole day, es­pe­cially if you’re the home team. You don’t eat lunch at the same time and it makes ev­ery­thing in­con­sis­tent,” he said. “I much pre­fer to play at night and I be­lieve all of the play­ers do as well.”

UP NEXT

Griz­zlies: Visit Phoenix on Sun­day in the sec­ond game of a back-to-back to con­clude a three-game trip.

Clip­pers: Host the New York Knicks on Sun­day in the sec­ond game of a rare day­time back-to-back.

BLOWOUT — Los An­ge­les Clip­pers’ Lou Wil­liams (23) drives to the bas­ket as Mem­phis Griz­zlies’ Jaren Jack­son Jr., right, de­fends dur­ing a game on Satur­day in Los An­ge­les.

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