Published January 13, 2015
The Memphis Grizzlies are one game away from dispatching the Los Angeles Clippers and avenging last season's first-round playoff loss.
They can advance with a win at home Friday night.
The Grizzlies pulled ahead in the series with a 103-93 victory Tuesday in Los Angeles. Zach Randolph, Marc Gasol and Mike Conley all scored over 20 points and Memphis only committed seven turnovers against a Clippers team that forced the most turnovers in the NBA this season.
"We played the way we've been playing the last few games," Grizzlies head coach Lionel Hollins said.
In last year's first round of the playoffs, the Clippers took Game 7 in Memphis to win and advance to the semifinals.
But now the Clippers are at a disadvantage. They know they've won some huge games in Memphis, not just the critical Game 7 one year ago.
"Last year, we went in and won Game 1 and we needed to win that game, not having home court advantage that flipped the series for us," said Clippers star Blake Griffin. "At the end of the season, we needed that win to get home- court advantage to help us out. We know what's at stake and hopefully we can use that experience and kind of harness that and realize what we did in those games to put us on top."
Griffin was referring to an April 13 road victory.
Griffin landed awkwardly on Lamar Odom's foot in practice on Monday. Griffin exited the game midway through the third quarter and never returned.
"It's unfortunate timing, a freak thing," said Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro.
Griffin is expected to play in Game 6.
Chris Paul led the Clippers in Game 5 with 35 points. Jamal Crawford was the only other player for the Clippers to score in double figures.
"We have to find a way to get everyone involved, me as a point guard, I have to find a way," said Paul.
The four other Los Angeles starters combined for 18 points. The bench, led by Crawford, who finished second to the New York Knicks' J.R. Smith for Sixth Man of the Year, tallied 40 points.
Despite being one of the NBA's best teams in recent memory, the Grizzlies have won only a playoff round once in their existence, which dates back to the 1995-96 season.
In 2011, Memphis, as an eight seed, toppled the San Antonio Spurs in the first round. The Grizzlies gave the Oklahoma City Thunder a run in the second round, but fell in seven games.
If the Clippers survive on Friday, Game 7 will be Sunday at the Staples Center.