LOS ANGELES — Marc Gasol scored 23, Zach Randolph had 18 points and 16 rebounds, and the Grizzles rallied in the fourth quarter to beat the Clippers 90-88 Friday, forcing a decisive seventh game in the Western Conference first-round series.
Rudy Gay and Mike Conley added 13 points each to help the Grizzlies, who once trailed 3-1 in the series but host Game 7 Sunday.
Blake Griffin scored 17 despite a sprained left knee to lead the Clippers, and Chris Paul scored 11 playing with a strained right hip flexor and a jammed middle finger.
MEMPHIS (90): Gay 5-14 3-3 13, Randolph 8-17 2-6 18, Gasol 9-16 5-5 23, Conley 4-9 2-4 13, Allen 2-7 4-8 8, Mayo 2-3 0-0 4, Speights 3-5 0-0 6, Pondexter 1-2 1-1 3, Cunningham 0-1 0-0 0, Arenas 0-2 0-0 0, Haddadi 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 35-77 17-27 90.
L.A. CLIPPERS (88): Butler 4-9 0-0 10, Griffin 6-11 5-6 17, Jordan 2-4 3-6 7, Paul 4-9 2-4 11, Foye 4-13 0-0 9, Williams 1-7 0-0 2, Martin 5-6 0-0 10, Bledsoe 6-12 2-3 14, Evans 1-4 4-6 6, Young 1-4 0-0 2. Totals 34-79 16-25 88.
Memphis 25 17 24 24— 90
L.A. Clippers 16 22 28 22— 88
3-Point Goals—Memphis 3-10 (Conley 3-5, Randolph 0-1, Allen 0-1, Gay 0-1, Arenas 0-2), L.A. 4-15 (Butler 2-4, Paul 1-3, Foye 1-4, Williams 0-2, Young 0-2). Fouled Out—Paul. Rebounds—Memphis 66 (Randolph 16), L.A. 40 (Evans 10). Assists—Memphis 20 (Conley 9), L.A. 21 (Paul 7). Total Fouls—Memphis 24, L.A. 24. Technicals—Evans. A—19,060 (19,060).
Report: James nets third MVP award
MIAMI — Heat forward LeBron James will be named today as league MVP for a third time, the Associated Press reported.
James' name will be mentioned among the best to have played the game when he formally is presented with the trophy by commissioner David Stern on Sunday before Miami hosts Indiana in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference semifinal.
James, 27, is winning the award for the third time in four seasons. Only seven other players — Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Michael Jordan, Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson and Moses Malone — have at least three MVP trophies.
James said last week that while another MVP award "would be amazing and would be humbling," it's not what drives him. In his ninth season, James still has not won an NBA title. "What I'm all about is team, and ever since I was a kid, I was always taught it's team first," James said Friday.
Abdul-Jabbar won the MVP six times, Jordan and Russell five times each, Chamberlain four.
Flopping flap: A day after Pacers coach Frank Vogel said the East semifinal series could come down to whether referees call charging violations when Heat defenders flail in the lane, Miami players largely shrugged.
"There's a lot of things to be said, mind games to be thrown out there. We can't let that affect us," guard Dwyane Wade told the South Florida Sun Sentinel.
Vogel made flopping an issue Thursday, saying: "They are the biggest flopping team in the NBA. … Every time you drive to the basket, they've got guys not making a play on the ball but sliding in front of drivers, often times they're falling down before contact is even made. It'll be very interesting to see how this series is officiated."
Celtics-76ers: After vanquishing the top-seeded but injury-depleted Bulls, the 76ers will try to take down the fourth-seeded Celtics in an Eastern Conference semifinal that starts tonight. "I told them, 'Now we're in the high rent district. Now you start really finding out what it's all about,' " 76ers coach Doug Collins said.
Nugget Case: The attorney for Chris "Birdman" Andersen said he believes the allegations that led to a search of the Nuggets player's home involve a spurned female fan. Attorney M. Colin Bresee said the woman asked for "financial remuneration" after traveling to Colorado last year. Bresee expects that a sheriff's task force that investigates allegations of cyber crime against children will find no criminal wrongdoing by Andersen, who has not been charged or arrested.
Nuggets force Game 7
Kobe Bryant scored 31 despite a stomach ailment, but the host Nuggets routed the Lakers 113-96 late Thursday to set up tonight's Game 7 in Los Angeles.
"No, of course they didn't," Bryant said when asked if his teammates matched his effort.
The Nuggets are trying to become just the ninth team to escape a 3-1 deficit. They'll have to do it against a Lakers team with Metta World Peace, back from a seven-game suspension.