May 11, 2012; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Clippers power forward Blake Griffin (32) and Memphis Grizzlies small forward Rudy Gay (22) go for the rebound in the second half of game 6 of the Western Conference quarterfinals of the 2012 NBA Playoffs at the Staples Center. Grizzlies won 90-88. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-US PRESSWIRE
The Memphis Grizzlies gave up a 27 point lead in Game 1 and went into a 3-1 hole, but have forced a Game 7 against a hobbled Los Angeles Clippers team.
When the Los Angeles Clippers failed to close out the Memphis Grizzlies in Game 5 of their series, it was easily explained. Teams without a lot of playoff experience generally struggle to close out a series on the road when they know they will have another chance at home. Chris Paul and Blake Griffin picked up slight injuries in that game, which explained their loss in Game 6. Based on Paul's performance, his injury might be worse than he's willing to admit.
If that's the case, there will be another explanation for another Clippers loss if they go down in Game 7, but losing three straight in the playoffs will still have to be considered a case of going down in flames for Lob City. When Paul hasn't been dominant, they haven't been able to generate offense. Griffin and DeAndre Jordan -- two of the most athletically gifted big men in the league -- have been consistently outplayed by Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph.
When the Clippers came from 27 points down to win Game 1 in Memphis, no one would have guessed that this series would be remotely interesting, but it's made it all the way to Game 7 because of an injury to Paul and the inability of the Clippers to guard Memphis' forwards or create any offense except for the offense that Paul creates by himself. He is the best player in this series and can win Game 7 by himself, but if he is not healthy, the Clippers are underdogs on the road.
Game Date/Time: Sunday, 1 p.m. ET
Venue: FedEx Forum, Memphis, Tenn.