The Los Angeles Clippers are going to have to find a way to deal with injuries to their top three offensive players if they want to beat Memphis Friday night and advance in the Western Conference Finals.
The Clippers have a 3-2 lead in the series after losing game five 92-80, but it was individual losses that are now starting to hurt. In game five, Chris Paul strained his hip flexor and jammed a finger while Blake Griffin sprained his knee, meaning the top two offensive threats for the Clippers are less than 100 percent.
The Clippers third offensive option, Caron Butler, fractured his left hand in game one of the series but has continued to play. He has been limited however, and has only scored 26 points over the past three games.
All three players are expected to play on Friday night, and the Clippers will likely win or lose based on how well the trio can deal with their injuries and play their game.
Closing out the Grizzlies would be a defining moment for the Clippers. They have only won two playoff series since moving to Los Angeles in 1970. The team, and owner Donald Sterling have become a symbol of how to do everything wrong in professional sports.
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But with the arrival of Blake Griffin last season, and the addition of Chris Paul this year, the Clippers have one of the best rosters in franchise history but they need a series win to prove it.
Where to watch: The game can be viewed online at http://nbaliveonline.com/streaming/. It will also be broadcast nationally on ESPN at 9 p.m. ET.
Prediction: The Clippers injuries will be too much for them to overcome. Look for them to drop a close one and then hope to get healthier for game seven.
Predicted Score: Memphis over Los Angeles 95-88