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Memphis Grizzlies center Marc Gasol (33), of Spain, tries to get past Los Angeles Clippers center DeAndre Jordan (6) in the first half of Game 5 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series, Wednesday, May 9, 2012, in Memphis, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
NBA: Grizzlies force Game 6 vs. Clippers
NBA » Paul strains a groin muscle; Griffin hyperextends a knee.
First Published May 09 2012 11:09 pm • Last Updated May 10 2012 12:12 am

Memphis, Tenn. • Marc Gasol scored 23 points and Zach Randolph added 19 as the Memphis Grizzlies avoided elimination by beating the Los Angeles Clippers 92-80 on Wednesday night, forcing a Game 6 in the Western Conference first-round series.

With Gasol and Randolph scoring early, the Grizzlies looked like the team that knocked off top-seeded San Antonio last spring and took Oklahoma City to seven games in the conference semifinals.

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Game 6 is Friday night in Los Angeles. If the Grizzlies can win, Game 7 would be Sunday in Memphis.

Rudy Gay added 14 points for Memphis.

Mo Williams had 20 points for the Clippers while Chris Paul scored 19 and Blake Griffin had 15 points and 11 rebounds. Paul and Griffin both missed time in the fourth quarter with injuries.

Paul strained a groin muscle and appeared to jam a finger while Griffin hyperextended his left knee.

Paul almost singlehandedly gave the Clippers a chance to close out this series by scoring eight of his 27 points in overtime of Game 4.

This time, the four-time All-Star guard had just five points by halftime and scored nothing in this fourth quarter.

He was grimacing early in the fourth quarter and was on the bench with the injured right groin. An injured groin kept him out of the Clippers’ regular season finale, a loss to New York that cost Los Angeles the No. 4 seed.

The Clippers came in needing a win to clinch their first series since 2006 and advance to a second-round series against top-seeded San Antonio.


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But even though Paul has plenty of postseason experience, this was the first close-out game for the likes of Griffin, Randy Foye and DeAndre Jordan.

Los Angeles last led at 17-16 before a fastbreak layup by Tony Allen that was set up by a long pass from Gasol put Memphis ahead to stay at 18-17 with 5:40 left in the first quarter.

The Clippers closed the third quarter with a 14-2 run and got within six twice to conjure up memories of Memphis blowing a 27-point lead in Game 1.

Foye pulled the Clippers within 85-79 on a layup with 55.7 seconds left.

With CP3 on the bench, that was as close as they would get.



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