May 1, 2013
The Memphis Grizzlies took advantage of Blake Griffin's ankle injury and moved within a victory of clinching their first-round playoff series.
Zach Randolph scored 10 of his 25 points in the fourth quarter as the Grizzlies beat the Los Angeles Clippers 103-93 on Tuesday night, taking a 3-2 lead in their first-round playoff series.
"It certainly feels better than going home down 2-3," coach Lionel Hollins said.
Mike Conley added 20 points for the Grizzlies, who will try to wrap it up Friday night at home. The Pacific Division champion Clippers, who won their last seven games of the regular season to clinch home-court advantage for the first two rounds, would force a deciding seventh game on Sunday back at Staples Center with a win in Memphis.
Griffin was late joining teammates on the floor for warmups because he was getting his right ankle worked on. The three-time All-Star rolled it during Monday's practice when he stepped on Lamar Odom's foot during post drills, but no one in the organization let on, and coach Vinny Del Negro didn't broach the subject during his pregame briefing with reporters.
"I kept being optimistic," Griffin said. "Our training staff did a great job giving me treatment. I've never had a high ankle sprain before."
Once the game started, Griffin ignored the ankle issue and attacked the Grizzlies in the same reckless manner that has been his trademark since he came into the league. But he played only 19 minutes — six in the second half — and finished with four points, five rebounds and five assists. He also got a technical foul from referee Jason Phillips just 3 minutes into the game after scoring on a fastbreak layup and shoving center Marc Gasol's arm.
"It's tough. B.G. tried to give it a go, like we all knew he would," Chris Paul said. "Right now, we're fighting for our lives. It's a tough blow, but what can you do? We've got to find a way to get through it and figure it out. That's what the playoffs are all about.
"We tried to come out with some energy. We've just got to find a way to get everyone involved. As a point guard, I've got to find a way."
Paul led Los Angeles with 35 points, tying a career playoff high.