Spanish center Marc Gasol scored 23 points and grabbed nine rebounds to lead the Memphis Grizzlies over the Los Angeles Clippers 90-88 on Friday and sustain their NBA playoff title hopes.
The Grizzlies and Clippers are deadlocked 3-3 in the best-of-seven Western Conference first-round playoff series with game seven at Memphis on Sunday to decide which club will advance to face the San Antonio Spurs in round two.
"We'll battle and fight," Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro said. "We'll be hungry. We'll make them earn everything."
Zach Randolph added 18 points and 16 rebounds for the Grizzlies, who also had 13 points each from Rudy Gay and Mike Conley.
"We've been down. We felt like we were supposed to be up in this series anyway," Randolph said.
"Big players come through in big games when their backs are against the wall and that's what we did."
Blake Griffin, who played despite a left knee injury, led the Clippers with 17 points and added six assists while Chris Paul, nursing a jammed finger and sore hip, added 11 points and a team-high seven assists. Each added five rebounds and three steals.
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After the Clippers took their largest lead, Memphis scored the next 10 points over 98 seconds, a Gay 3-point play capping the spurt to pull the Grizzlies ahead 78-76 with 6:28 remaining.
Conley sank a 3-pointer to give Memphis an 83-80 edge and Randolph tipped-in a basket to stretch the Grizzlies' advantage.
Griffin answered for the Clippers with two free throws with 3:11 to play but a Randolph dunk put Memphis back in front by five points at 87-82.
Paul sank a free throw for the Clippers with 56 seconds remaining but Tony Allen made two free throws in response for an 89-83 Memphis lead.
The Clippers closed the gap on Randy Foye's 3-pointer with three seconds remaining but Conley took the inbounds pass and ran out the last seconds without being fouled to seal the victory.