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Grizzlies win 3rd straight, 103-93

Wednesday - 5/1/2013, 2:52pm  ET

The Memphis Grizzlies players look on during the first half in Game 5 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series against the Los Angeles Clippers in Los Angeles, Tuesday, April 30, 2013. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

JOE RESNICK
Associated Press

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- The Memphis Grizzlies took advantage of Blake Griffin's ankle injury and moved within a victory of clinching their first-round playoff series.

Zach Randolph scored 10 of his 25 points in the fourth quarter as the Grizzlies beat the Los Angeles Clippers 103-93 on Tuesday night, taking a 3-2 lead in their first-round playoff series.

"It certainly feels better than going home down 2-3," coach Lionel Hollins said.

Mike Conley added 20 points for the Grizzlies, who will try to wrap it up Friday night at home. The Pacific Division champion Clippers, who won their last seven games of the regular season to clinch home-court advantage for the first two rounds, would force a deciding seventh game on Sunday back at Staples Center with a win in Memphis.

Griffin was late joining teammates on the floor for warmups because he was getting his right ankle worked on. The three-time All-Star rolled it during Monday's practice when he stepped on Lamar Odom's foot during post drills, but no one in the organization let on, and coach Vinny Del Negro didn't broach the subject during his pregame briefing with reporters.

"I kept being optimistic," Griffin said. "Our training staff did a great job giving me treatment. I've never had a high ankle sprain before."

Once the game started, Griffin ignored the ankle issue and attacked the Grizzlies in the same reckless manner that has been his trademark since he came into the league. But he played only 19 minutes -- six in the second half -- and finished with four points, five rebounds and five assists. He also got a technical foul from referee Jason Phillips just 3 minutes into the game after scoring on a fastbreak layup and shoving center Marc Gasol's arm.

"It's tough. B.G. tried to give it a go, like we all knew he would," Chris Paul said. "Right now, we're fighting for our lives. It's a tough blow, but what can you do? We've got to find a way to get through it and figure it out. That's what the playoffs are all about.

"We tried to come out with some energy. We've just got to find a way to get everyone involved. As a point guard, I've got to find a way."

Paul led Los Angeles with 35 points, tying a career playoff high.

"We've got to be desperate. That's how it is," Paul said. "I've said the playoffs don't start till somebody loses at home, so I guess now they've started. We lost here at home. Now it's do or die in Memphis."

Gasol finished with 21 points and eight rebounds in a foul-plagued 31 1-2 minutes for Memphis. He picked up his fifth with 5:39 left in the third quarter, and still managed to be a factor in the fourth.

"We won with defense," Gasol said. "Zach did an amazing job under the basket, but defensively is how we won the game."

Memphis took its biggest lead, 65-52, on Conley's three-point play with 6:28 left in the third quarter. The Grizzlies opened the fourth with a 73-65 advantage before the Clippers closed on Paul's layup and Matt Barnes' fastbreak slam off a long pass by Jamal Crawford.

From then on, it was up to Paul and the reserves to bail out the Clippers. But Randolph was too much to deal with again, following his dominant efforts in Games 3 and 4.

"We knew these guys were going to come out firing, which they did," Memphis guard Tony Allen said. "Our whole thing was just keeping our composure, playing hard, playing together and not letting those guys get those lobs and the highlight stuff that they normally do. Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph were huge for us."

Tayshaun Prince helped wrap it up with a layup and a 3-pointer in the final minutes after the Clippers got within five on a short jumper by Crawford with 1:49 remaining.

"I thought we withstood the early barrages of energy that they had," Hollins said. "In the second quarter, we set the tone of the game with our defense and we played with that the rest of the game. After Marc got his fifth foul, Zach took over and carried us with his big plays and Prince hit a couple of big shots."

During a bruising opening half, 24 fouls were called and neither team led by more than four until Gasol's three-point play gave the Grizzlies a 46-40 margin with 2:35 left. Griffin picked up his third foul on the play and his second in a span of 28 seconds.

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