Tayshaun Prince hit a dagger from the three-point line to give the Grizzlies a 94-86 lead before Jamal Crawford scored his sixth field goal of the game to bring the Clips within six. Next, Marc Gasol hit a hook shot in the lane to stretch the lead back to eight and effectively put the game away as it turned into a free-throw shooting contest that didn't allow Los Angeles to close the gap.
Chris Paul finished with 35 points, but it wasn't enough to lead the Clippers past the Grizzlies' suffocating defense.
The small lineup by the Clippers that included Eric Bledsoe, Paul, Crawford, Matt Barnes and Lamar Odom disrupted the Grizzlies enough to make things interesting down the stretch, but Memphis executed on offense and defended well enough to close out the all-important fifth game.
Without Blake Griffin, who exited in the third quarter with a high ankle sprain suffered earlier in the week in practice, Zach Randolph and Gasol were able to exploit the Clippers inside and combined for 19 rebounds.
Memphis forced 13 Clippers' turnovers and outrebounded LA, 42-40.
Randolph led the way for the Grizzlies with 25 points on 11-of-21 shooting and added 11 rebounds and two steals. Gasol wasn't far behind with 21 points of his own and eight rebounds. Mike Conley took care of business on the perimeter both by slowing Paul down in the fourth quarter and pouring in 20 points.
The Grizzlies used nine first-half turnovers to score seven points off those giveaways and take a six-point lead into the locker room. Randolph and Conley led the way and had 24 points combined while filling up the stat sheet elsewhere -- Randolph with six rebounds and Conley with four assists through the first two frames.
Even though the Clippers shot the ball well at 47.2 percent through two, they couldn't secure it well enough to take advantage of their efficiency with possessions. Griffin's injury was an obvious advantage for the Grizzlies down low as they scored nine second-chance points on seven offensive rebounds in the first half.
Those factors helped to neutralize the outstanding performance by Paul in the first half, as the All-Star scored 21 points. The team defense helped to neutralize the All-Star as he scored 14 in the second.
The Grizzlies continued to look determined in the third quarter as they forced the Clippers into bad shots throughout frame.
Crawford finished with 15 points on 6-of-14 shooting. No other Clippers scored in double figures.
Game 6 will take place on Friday as the Clippers face elimination on the road at Memphis' FedEx Forum.