You knew it was only a matter of time before the Curse of the Clippers resurfaced. And that
time came in Game 5 on Wednesday, when Chris Paul and Blake Griffin—only the two best players on L.A.’s roster—suffered injuries in a 92-80 loss at Memphis. Both Paul (hip flexor, jammed finger on his shooting hand) and Griffin (hyperextended knee) are expected to play tonight, but how long (and how well) remains the question. And considering Memphis—which staved off elimination with Wednesday’s victory—is a slight road favorite in Game 6 tells me these injuries are more than just minor. As it is, even with a healthy lineup, the Clippers didn’t exactly dominate the Grizzlies in the first two meetings in L.A., winning 87-86 in Game 3 and 101-97 in overtime in Game 4.
True, the Clippers have thrived in the role of home underdog recently (four straight spread-covers), but that’s when Paul and Griffin were 100 percent. Meanwhile, Memphis has cashed in 22 of
its last 32 games as a small favorite (less than five points). Look for the Grizzlies to push the pace from the opening tip and push this series back to Memphis for Game 7. (Clippers crumbling, Lakers falling apart, John Travolta—not a good week in La-La land.)
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆
Thursday’s Result: Hawks (+6 1/2) vs. Celtics (Win)