LOS ANGELES -- The stubborn Memphis Grizzlies aren't the only obstacles in the Los Angeles Clippers' path to closing out a rare playoff series victory. Blake Griffin and Chris Paul are banged-up heading into Game Six, and Caron Butler continues to play with a broken left hand.
The Clippers said Thursday that Griffin and Paul would be game-time decisions tonight (9 p.m., ESPN), although the All-Star duo figures to play with so much on the line.
The Clippers could have earned some much-needed rest with a win in Game Five Wednesday night. Instead, they lost, 92-80, forcing the series back home to Staples Center with a second chance to clinch just the third playoff series win in franchise history on Friday.
"It gives us a lot of confidence going back home," center DeAndre Jordan said. "We won our last two at home, so we'll just try to go home and feed off our home crowd."
Griffin had an MRI on his sprained left knee Thursday, when the Clippers didn't practice. The team said it confirmed there was no structural damage. He got hurt in the third quarter, but returned to play. Paul strained his right hip flexor in the fourth quarter, but returned, too. He also has a jammed middle finger, but he says he plans to play today.
That's good news for the Clippers, since Paul has been the catalyst in leading them to three narrow victories against the Grizzlies. Butler got hurt in Game One and was believed to be done for the rest of the playoffs, but has continued to be a presence.
"They've made more plays than us," Memphis coach Lionel Hollins said Thursday before boarding a flight to Los Angeles.
The Clippers lead the best-of-7 series, 3-2. They last won a playoff series in 2006, and before that they have to go all the way back to 1976, when the franchise was called the Buffalo Braves, for their only other series victory.
Closing out the Grizzlies would be a defining moment for a Clippers franchise that is still working to overcome its reputation as the laughingstock of the NBA.