Somehow, here we are.
After winning the first two games of their first round series against the Memphis Grizzlies, the Los Angeles Clippers are suddenly facing elimination.
They lost the initial two games in Memphis, and followed that up with an awful effort on their home floor in game five.
Blake Griffin, who suffered a high ankle sprain in practice in the day prior to game five, was severely limited in the game, and wound up playing just 20 relatively ineffective minutes. He’s officially listed as a game-time decision for game six.
Chris Paul, who had to carry the load in Griffin’s absence, is also hindered by a thumb injury, but he will start. Paul led all scorers with 35 points in game five, but ran out of gas down-the-stretch, and got very little help from his teammates.
The only other Clipper to score in double-figures was Jamal Crawford with 15 points. No other L.A. starter finished with more than six points as the team was held to just 44 percent shooting from the floor.
The strong play of the Grizzlies big men continued in game five, as Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph absolutely dominated the paint, combining to score 46 points and grab 19 rebounds. Memphis won the rebounding battle 42-40 in that game, meaning the team that has held the edge in the rebounding department has won each of the first five games of the series.
Despite being up against it, the Clippers have been here before.
They had to go to Memphis last season, as you may recall, for game seven in the first round, and wound up pulling out a gritty 10-point victory to advance to round two. The Grizzlies franchise is 0-2 in game sevens, but is 3-0 in game sixes.
If they’re able to win the series, the Grizzlies will become the 16th team in the history of the NBA to win a playoff series despite being in an 0-2 hole.
L.A.’s offense has been stymied in the last four games, as the Grizzlies have held them to just under 88 points per game in games 2-5 after they poured in 112 in the game one blowout win.
The Grizzlies are sure to come out with tons of energy playing in front of their home crowd with a chance to advance, and the Clippers will have to weather that storm early and play with composure in order to have a chance.
Tip-off is scheduled for 6:30pm PT and will be televised nationally on TNT, and locally in the L.A. market on Fox Sports West.
About the Author
Written by Taylor Smith
Taylor Smith is a writer for the Los Angeles Clippers.