Just one loss away from elimination, the Los Angeles Clippers can't afford for Blake Griffin to be injured right now. But that's exactly what they'll have to deal with tonight when they take on the Memphis Grizzlies in Game 6 of their first-round series.
According to Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLosAngeles.com, Griffin will be a game-time decision due to a sprained ankle that he suffered in practice on Monday before Game 5. Griffin attempted to play in that game but only mustered four points and five rebounds in 20 minutes on the floor before calling it a night.
The Clippers lost their third consecutive game of the series, 103-93.
While it's a possibility that Griffin will play—according to the report it's truly a 50-50 proposition—the fact that he's still dealing with the injury means that the Clippers' chances are all but gone.
Clippers fans can rally around the fact that Chris Paul has been brilliant this series. The star point guard has led the way with 21.8 points per game and 6.0 assists. His consistency has outshone Griffin's in many regards.
Can the Clippers still win this series?
But when you factor in that Paul is averaging nearly three fewer assists per game from the regular season, it's clear he needs someone to step up offensively. Usually that somebody would be Griffin. His 18 points per game is what originally helped earn the Clippers home-court advantage with the fourth seed.
With Griffin hobbled by injury, he will either be unable to use the dynamic athleticism that makes him a scoring threat or he won't be able to play at all. Which means it's all up to Paul to carry the offense once again.
If Griffin is forced to miss Game 6, Zach Randolph's domination of the series will once again prove to be too much for the Clippers. The Grizzlies big man has been unstoppable down low, scoring 20.4 points per game.
Without Griffin's offensive prowess, the Clippers have no answer for Randolph's contributions. Without any answers heading into Game 6, the Clippers season appears to be headed towards an unceremonious first-round exit.