Grizzlies claw back the Clippers to tie series at 3-3
LOS ANGELES, May 12 — The Memphis Grizzlies staved off playoff elimination by beating the Los Angeles Clippers 90-88 on the road in Game Six on Friday to level the best-of-seven series at 3-3.
Trailing by eight points midway through the final quarter, the fourth-seeded Grizzlies fought back with an unbroken 10-0 run before regaining the lead when Mike Conley made a three-pointer with under five minutes remaining.
Centre Marc Gasol top-scored for Memphis with 23 points and forward Zach Randolph weighed in with 17 and 16 rebounds as the heart-broken Clippers were denied the chance to clinch a playoff series for only the third time, on their home court.
Power forward Blake Griffin led the way for Los Angeles with 17 points and Eric Bledsoe, off the bench, contributed 14 at a packed Staples Centre but the home team paid the penalty after being out-rebounded 48-32 by their opponents.
Game Seven is in Memphis on Sunday and the winners will go on to meet the top-seeded San Antonio Spurs in the Western Conference semi-finals.
The Grizzlies, who lost both regular-season games to the Clippers at the Staples Centre along with the first two playoff games, made a fast start to lead 25-16 after the first quarter.
With Reggie Evans, Bledsoe and Kenyon Martin providing much needed energy off the bench for the Clippers, the home team then steadily clawed their way back to cut the deficit to 42-38 at halftime.
The Grizzlies increased their lead to eight points early in the third quarter before the Clippers again fought back, a Chris Paul jump shot tying the score at 60-60 with just under four minutes remaining in the quarter.
Caron Butler, playing with a broken left hand, made a three-pointer to put Los Angeles ahead 63-62 before the teams entered the final quarter again deadlocked at 66-66.
An unbroken 10-0 run, punctuated by a Bledsoe jump shot, gave the Clippers a 76-68 lead with just over eight minutes remaining before the Grizzlies responded to level the score at 80-80.
Conley's three-pointer put Memphis ahead 83-80 and they never relinquished their grip as the Clippers missed several late scoring opportunities. — Reuters