The Memphis Grizzlies started the fifth game of their Playoff match-up against the visiting Los Angeles Clippers with an explosive opening period and the Clippers would end the contest not only by losing to their hosts by a final of 92-80 on Wednesday night; they now have concerns about the health of two of the club’s key starters.
All-Star point guard Chris Paul sat out the last 1:24 of the game after he strained his groin while All-Star forward Blake Griffin appeared to have injured his surgically repaired left knee in the fourth as well. Needless to say; the player and the team are hoping that any injury is not serious, as the procedure Griffin had completed left him on the sidelines his entire first season in the Association.
Mo Williams came off the bench to led Los Angeles with 20 points while Paul scored 19 points and Griffin notched a double-double including 15 points in the loss. Marc Gasol had a solid night for Memphis as he knocked down a game high 23 points while veteran Zach Randolph racked up a double-double with 19 points at the Fed Ex Forum. The Grizzlies outscored their visitors in the battle in the paint by a margin of 48-26.
Memphis would dominate the Clippers on both sides of the floor during the first 12 minutes of action and built themselves such a substantial cushion that they would hold on to get their second victory of the series; as well as keeping the series going as they now trail the Clippers by a 3-2 margin.
After trailing the Clippers for most of the first, veteran Tony Allen drove the lane put the ball in the cylinder; was fouled on the play and made his shot at the line. It would put Memphis ahead 19-17 and the home team finished the quarter on a 17-5 run to end the period on top 36-22. Los Angeles never came close to being a threat during the second and when Marreese Speights hit two at the line with 24 seconds to play the Grizzlies would reach the half holding a 57-42 advantage.
Memphis would be ahead by 24 points when Gasol split a pair at the line with 3:01 left in the third, making it a 75-51 game. It would be Los Angeles who ended this period on a roll, as they outscored the Grizzlies 14-2 for the rest of the quarter and the Memphis lead would be cut in half at the end of the quarter; with the score 77-65. The Clippers were able to get back in the contest as Randy Foye hit a shot with 55 seconds on the clock as his club climbed to within six points of their hosts as it was an 85-79 contest. Los Angeles never could get any closer and Memphis held on for the victory.
The two teams will head to Los Angeles as they meet once again on the hardwood Friday night.