Published May 12, 2012
| Sports Network
Los Angeles, CA – Mike Conley hit the go-ahead three-pointer, Marc Gasol poured in 23 points and the Memphis Grizzlies lived to fight another day with a 90-88 victory over the LA Clippers in Game 6 of the Western Conference quarterfinals.
"We were focused defensively tonight. I have to be more aggressive. That's on my mind. It doesn't matter who scores as long as we win the game," said Gasol.
Conley finished with 13 points, Zach Randolph had 18 to go with 16 rebounds and Rudy Gay chipped in another 13 points for the Grizzlies, who have forced a decisive Game 7 in consecutive seasons.
Memphis took Oklahoma City to a Game 7 in last season's conference semifinals, but was routed by 15 points.
Blake Griffin netted a team-high 17 points for the Clippers despite spraining his knee in Game 5 on Wednesday. Chris Paul had 11 points and seven assists while dealing with a strained right hip flexor, also suffered Wednesday.
"Chris and Blake battled through as best they could," Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro said.
Game 7 is set for Sunday in Memphis. The West's No. 1 seed, San Antonio, awaits the winner in the Western semifinals.
"This will be my second Game 7. I can't wait. I'm not ready to start my summer," said Paul.
The Grizzlies led through the majority of the contest, but Eric Bledsoe hit a pair of free throws to tie the game early in the fourth, the beginning of a 10-0 Clipper run for the largest lead of the evening at 76-68.
Randolph, though, immediately spurred a flurry of 10 straight points when he refused to allow Los Angeles to come up with a defensive rebound off Tony Allen's miss, eventually grabbing two boards of his own before netting a layup to start the rally.
LA twice tied it before Conley set up in the corner at the 4:38 mark and, accepting a feed from Gay, drained the triple with Griffin's hand in his face.
Allen pushed the edge to six a bit later on a pair from the stripe, and although Griffin -- a career 59 percent free-throw shooter -- made 4-of-4 freebies down the stretch while Memphis missed five of its last six, two mental mistakes prevented a comeback.
First, with under 25 seconds to play, Foye jumped and grabbed Allen's missed free throw, but he stepped on the baseline while grabbing the rebound.
Then, after Foye made it a one-possession game with a three in the closing seconds, the Clippers were unable to foul as the Grizzlies ran out the clock.
"We stuck together tonight and kept battling. We got stops at the end and finished the game," Randolph said.
As they had in Game 5, the Grizzlies opened a large first-quarter lead. Paced by 10 fastbreak points, they took a 25-16 advantage into the second.
Memphis turned the ball over 13 times in the first half, however, and Los Angeles used those errors to remain close, eventually trimming its deficit to 42-38 by halftime.
Only eight NBA teams have won a series after trailing 3-1, the last of which was Phoenix, which defeated the LA Lakers in 2006. Memphis trailed 3-1 in this series...The Clippers are angling for just their third playoff series win in franchise history. The last came over the Nuggets in 2006, and the other was a best-of-three win over Philadelphia in 1976, as the Buffalo Braves...The Clippers' last Game 7 appearance was a loss to Phoenix in the 2006 conference semifinals, in their last trip to the playoffs...The Grizzlies outrebounded Los Angeles, 48-32.