Memphis, TN – A return to FedExForum was just what the Memphis Grizzlies needed.
After dropping the first two games of the series, including a crushing defeat in Game 2, Memphis downed the Los Angeles Clippers, 94-82, behind a raucous home crowd and a big double-double from Zach Randolph in Game 3 of their Western Conference quarterfinal.
Randolph was held in check the first two games, but powered the Grizzlies on Thursday with 27 points and 11 rebounds, six of which were offensive, and a desperate Memphis squad picked up its first victory of the series.
Marc Gasol, the Defensive Player of the Year recipient, turned in 16 points and eight rebounds and helped limit the Clippers to just 38.8 percent shooting. Tony Allen and Quincy Pondexter scored 13 apiece and Mike Conley dished out 10 assists in the victory.
"We have the best bigs in the league. They are really great," said Pondexter. "Marc is one of the best centers in my eyes. Zach has brilliant plays. He's like the best power forward in the league. When you have those two guys doing what they do, it's hard to stop us."
Chris Paul, who provided the game-winning layup for Los Angeles in Game 2, netted just eight points on 4-of-11 shooting, but the Clippers still maintain a 2-1 series lead.
"It's hard to run if you don't have the ball," said Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro. "It is hard to play with any type of tempo if you don't have the ball. So rebounds, we turned the ball over too much, we ran the clock too much, and that is what's going to happen."
Blake Griffin registered 16 points and Chauncey Billups had 11 in the setback.
The series will resume when the team's square off in Game 4 on Saturday afternoon.
The Grizzlies, who were 32-9 during the regular season at home, were in control of the contest the entire way and led over the last 41 1/2 minutes of play.
The Clippers made one last threat when they bridged the third and fourth quarters with a 15-6 run to cut their margin to five at 74-69, but Memphis scored nine of next 11 points to build a double-digit lead that would last over the final 5 1/2 minutes of play.
Randolph, who was held to 13 points in each of the first two games of the series, matched that total in the first quarter after sinking a pair of free throws to open up a 19-14 lead for Memphis.
Griffin scored LA's last eight points of frame to bring them within 23-20, but Memphis began to create some distance midway through the second. Pondexter buried a 3-pointer to spark an 11-2 run to open up a 12-point lead and the Grizzlies carried a 47-39 advantage into the break.
Their margin continued to grow in the third, as Allen hit a jumper and added a reverse layup soon after to re-open a double-digit lead. A pair of free throws from Pondexter made it 68-54 with 1:22 remaining before the Clippers made their run which ultimately came up short.
Memphis' lead ballooned to as many as 16 before the final buzzer.
The Clippers committed 18 turnovers, which turned into 17 Memphis points ... Memphis dominated the glass by a 45-33 count ... The Grizzlies went 28-of-38 from the free throw line.