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NBA WEST -- Grizzlies maul Clippers, force Game 7


PhilBoxing.com


LOS ANGELES -- Close out games are never easy. The LA Clippers found that out the hard way Friday night at the Staples Center here in downtown Los Angeles.

With a 3-2 series lead over the Memphis Grizzlies, the Clippers had the golden opportunity to close out and advance to the second round. And for a moment, it seemed like the Clippers would deliver as they raced to a 76-68 lead in the 8:31 mark of the fourth quarter.

But LA had a major hiccup and watched the Grizzlies mount a 19-6 run that shoved Memphis back up, 87-82, with just 2:43 left to play. LA fought back, alright, but the rally was short-circuited by crucial turnovers, including two from a hobbled Chris Paul.

In the end,, it was Memphis 90, LA 88. This best-of-7 series is now tied at 3-3.

"It's tough, but nobody is 100 percent at this time of the season. I tried to suck it up and so did Blake (Griffin). We still had an opportunity to win. This is not a one-man team," said Paul who suffered a strained hip flexor in Game 5 and was clearly hindered in Game 6, moving without the usual spring and mobility that has defined him as an elite point guard.

Paul played for nearly 34 minutes and 59 seconds finished with a pedestrain 11 points, seven assists and three turnovers.

Griffin, who sustained a sprained knee in Game 5, was also diminished in Game 6. The 6-foot-10 power forward only had 17 points and six rebounds, And with him slowed on defense and rebounding, the Grizzlies decisively dominated the boards, 48-32.

Memphis' big men -- 7-foot Marc Gasol and 6-foot-9 Zach Randolph -- ruled the paint again. Both bigs combined for 41 points and 25 rebounds as the Grizzlies survived a poor shooting night when they made only 36 of 77 field goals including 3 for 10 beyond the arc. Memphis also missed 10 free throws.

Game 7 is scheduled Sunday afternoon at the FedEx Forum in Memphis. The Grizzlies are seeking to become only the eighth team in NBA history to come back from a 3-1 deficit and win a 7-game series. (Joan Secuya-Medida)


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Joan Secuya-Medida.


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