The Memphis-Los Angeles NBA first-round playoff series will go down to a decisive Game 7 after the Grizzlies beat the Clippers 90-88 on Friday.
Marc Gasol scored 23 points and Zach Randolph had 18 points and 16 rebounds for Memphis. Rudy Gay and Mike Conley added 13 points each to help the Grizzlies win for the first time in the Western Conference series at Staples Center.
Los Angeles’ Blake Griffin scored 17 points despite a sprained left knee that limited his jumping ability, while Eric Bledsoe added 14 off the bench for the Clippers, who blew an eight-point lead in the fourth quarter and a second chance to close out the series.
Chris Paul scored 11 points for Los Angeles playing with a strained right hip flexor and a jammed right middle finger.
The Clippers are now outsiders to win just the third playoff series in franchise history, as Game 7 will be Sunday in Memphis, Tennessee.
The Grizzlies are trying to become only the eighth team in NBA history to come back from a 3-1 deficit to win a seven-game series. Top-seeded San Antonio awaits the winner in the conference semi-finals.
Tied 66-66 starting the fourth, the Clippers scored 10 straight to take their first lead since the game’s opening minutes. Bledsoe scored six points.
However, the Grizzlies responded with a 17-4 run, including 10 straight points, to take an 85-80 lead. Gay scored five in a row as the Clippers missed and Randolph came up with a big block. Conley hit a three-pointer and Randolph tipped in the ball to close out the spurt.
Griffin made two free throws to narrow the gap before Randolph scored for an 87-82 Grizzlies lead. Conley fouled Paul, who missed the first free throw and made the second to leave Los Angeles trailing 87-83 with 56 seconds left.
The Clippers were forced to keep fouling, while the Grizzlies made three of eight to stay alive. Los Angeles’ Caron Butler missed a three-pointer with 14 seconds to go as home fans headed for the exits before Randy Foye hit a three with three seconds left.