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The Early Lead
Posted at 11:41 AM ET, 05/10/2012

Memphis Grizzlies beat Clippers to stay alive; Blake Griffin, Chris Paul injured in loss


Zach Randolph and the Memphis big men stepped up. (Mark Humphrey - AP)
The Grizzlies are not done yet, and if the physical toll exacted on the Clippers in Wednesday’s Game 5 victory lingers, the momentum may have just swung in Memphis’s favor.

Marc Gasol scored 23 points and Zach Randolph added 19 as the Grizzlies dominated the paint en route to a 92-80 win to force a Game 6 at Staples Center on Friday night.

And while Los Angeles still owns a 3-2 lead in the series, injuries to their two All-Stars could make closing the Grizzlies out at home a more challenging task.

Blake Griffin sprained his left knee and Chris Paul spent the game’s final minute on the bench after injuring his right hip. Both players will be evaluated Thursday.

Griffin hit the floor after a hard foul from Gasol late in the third quarter and briefly lay on the ground clutching his knee as trainers rushed to his aid. He played the remainder of the third quarter and much of the fourth after receiving treatment on the bench. Griffin finished with 15 points and 11 rebounds.

“I’d never felt that before,” Griffin said. “The pain scares you the most, not because it hurts, but because you don’t know what’s wrong.”


Blake Griffin grimaces as he walks to the bench after spraining his knee in the third quarter. (Mark Humphrey - AP)
Paul, who jammed the middle finger on his right hand in the first quarter, strained his right hip flexor in the fourth quarter.

The series shifts back to Friday where the Clippers are 2-0 with a one-point win and a four-point overtime victory. Memphis has won its two games by a combined 19 points but has not been able to execute — or stop the Clippers from executing — in the final moments of the other three contests.

“We’ve had our backs against the wall. We still have them,” Gasol said. “We haven’t done anything yet, and we want to takie it back to L.A. and give them another big battle.”

With Gasol and Randolph leading the way, the Grizzles took it to L.A. in the post, out-scoring the Clippers 48-26 in the paint and out-rebounding them 42-35. It will take a similarly physical effort on both ends to send the series back to Memphis for Game 7.

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By  |  11:41 AM ET, 05/10/2012

 
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