It’s not just that the Los Angeles Clippers got beat, 92-80, Wednesday night to extend their first-round playoffs series. It’s pretty significant that the Clippers got beat up, too.
Blake Griffin went down holding his left knee, a scary sight. Thankfully, it was a sprained and not something debilitating. Point guard Chris Paul hurt his right hip and had to come out. Not good, as L.A. looks to regroup for a close out Game 6 at Los Angeles Friday.
”We’ve got to get home, get some therapy, get rest and then get back to work on Friday,” Clippers coach Vinnie Del Negro said.
The team doctor and trainer told Del Negro that Griffin and Paul were healthy enough to return to action in the fourth quarter. But when Paul struggled with his mobility, Del Negro took him out.
Griffin hurt his knee when he tangled legs with the Grizzlies Marc Gasol (23 points) on a drive to the basket in the third quarter. He lay on the court clutching his knee for a few minutes before going to the bench. But he returned to attempt his free throws and played most of the fourth quarter.
”One of our guys went down,” said Clippers forward Caron Butler, who’s playing despite breaking his left hand in Game 1. ”Not just one of our guys, one of our superstars. It’s important that we go down and check on our brother. He got up. It was a tough play. He got banged up pretty bad. But he’s a soldier. He got back out there and kept chipping away at it with us.”
Memphis has lost all four of its games at Staples Center against the Clippers this year. The Grizzlies know they have to break through to force a decisive Game 7 in Memphis on Sunday..
”There’s no point leaving home if we don’t know our way back,” Grizzlies guard O.J. Mayo said. ”We can’t look at Sunday because we have to make sure we get back home after Friday night.”