Originally posted on Fox Sports Tennessee  |  Last updated 5/3/12
MEMPHIS, Tenn. Looking down the Clippers' bench in the fourth quarter was a sight for sore eyes and fingers, elbows and forearms. Seated alongside Caron Butler, his left hand wrapped in a splint, and Chauncey Billups, his left foot in a boot, was Eric Bledsoe, who was grabbing his left elbow, and Mo Williams, who was wincing as he flexed his right forearm. Farther down the line was Nick Young, who was trying to generate feeling in his right thumb. The busiest man on the sideline was trainer Jasen Powell, who bounced between the three. "It gets kind of scary," Chris Paul said. "You see guys at the end of the bench getting worked on, and I saw Bledsoe get hit in the arm, and then Mo. Hopefully everybody will be OK because we don't have anybody left." The Clippers lost a game that once again was there for the taking, this time Memphis swallowing hard as it held off another late charge for a 105-98 victory. That sends the series back to Los Angeles on Saturday tied at one game apiece. But as disconcerting as the defeat are the injuries that are piling up in what might be shaping up as a long and increasingly testy series. Williams, Bledsoe and Young are each expected to play, but all three were in discomfort at the end of the night. Williams had X-rays on his arm, the results of which were negative, and Young had an ice pack on his thumb after ripping off tape and re-entering the game to hit a late 3-pointer. "Of course they have an impact, they all have an impact," Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro said. "We lost Caron Butler, our starting three. Nick and Mo and we'll just have to heal up Bledsoe. We've got to go with the guys that are healthy. It's part of the game. We've got a few days in between games, so we'll make it work somehow." It was not hard to see the impact of Butler's absence. He has the height and the heft to defend Rudy Gay, something Young does not. This prompted Del Negro to start Bobby Simmons, who hadn't played in 10 days, in his place. Simmons acquitted himself well, making Gay work and scoring seven of his nine points in the fourth quarter. But Young was no match for Gay, who led the Grizzlies with 21 points on extremely efficient 9 of 13 shooting. "He's long and he shoots it high," Del Negro said. "It's hard to get to it, and he got to his sweet spots a little bit too easy tonight at times. Rudy's going to make some shots. We can live with them as long as we make him work for them. He got to some of his spots on the elbow a little bit too easy." Gay proved to be hazardous in other ways for the Clippers. Butler was injured in Game 1 when his finger got stuck in Gay's jersey, fracturing a bone in his hand. Young's thumb was bent back when he was trying to defend Gay, and the Memphis forward hit Bledsoe in the elbow as he dribbled past. The injuries seem to be just another sign that the Clippers are destined to do everything the hard way this season. They have had to integrate new faces since training camp. They suffered through a midseason malaise. And they closed the season with three losses in four games, costing them the chance to catch the Lakers for the Pacific Division title and allowing Memphis to snatch home-court advantage. Then, notably, the Clippers burnished their reputation as comeback kings with their stunning 24-point fourth quarter comeback in Game 1. They played much better Wednesday at the start, but Memphis recovered from an early staggering and gained control. When Gay sank a jumper with 3:51, the Grizzlies had their largest lead of the night, 97-84. Then they nearly coughed it up. The Clippers had closed to within 99-91 on Simmons' dunk with a minute left. But as Mike Conley missed a jumper, Paul was whistled for grabbing Marc Gasol, who was setting a screen, with 47 seconds left. That blunder was compounded by another. Gasol missed both free throws, but Zach Randolph rode Blake Griffin out of the play and grabbed the rebound, the last of 16 on the offensive end for Memphis. He was fouled and made one of the two free throws. Paul and Griffin shouldered much of the load, with Paul scoring 29 points and adding six assists and five steals, and Griffin scoring 22 points and grabbing nine rebounds. But they combined for nine of the Clippers' 20 turnovers, the second most they've had this season. The turnovers and the offensive rebounds were too much to overcome. "We definitely feel comfortable going home with a split," Clippers center DeAndre Jordan said. "But in reality we felt like we should have two games right now." But that's how it has been for the Clippers this season. Adversity hasn't been nearly as challenging as success.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Tyler Eifert says he will never play in the Pro Bowl again

Australian athletes evacuate the Olympic village after fire

Russian weightlifting team banned from Rio

Wade says Riley did not push him out of Miami

Nationals among multiple teams inquiring on Mark Melancon

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

McClain does not show up for Cowboys’ training camp

Andre Johnson agrees to two-year deal with Titans

Redskins GM injures hand punching wall in frustration

Report: Aldon Smith checks into rehab

McCarthy discusses 'urgency’ to win another title with Rodgers

Report: Lions extend CB Darius Slay with $50 million deal

Storyline from 'Ballers' plays out in Cowboys preseason camp

Texas A&M creates a very sexist version of their fight song for women

Brown, Marshall are apparently serious about their car bet

Lacy, Starks could split carries to start season

Cyborg Santos post-surgery skull photos are eerie

Dr. Phil calls out the Patriots for their cheating ways

Hockey team unveils Clinton, Trump bobbleheads

Bennett compares chemistry with Pats QBs to his love life

Crowell still making amends for controversial Instagram post

Report: LeBron urged Justin Bieber not to perform at RNC

Luck refutes Matt Hasselbeck’s assertion he never showers

Newspaper editor explains use of Jordan meme for MJ article

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Dr. Phil calls out the Patriots for their cheating ways

Everything that's already gone wrong at the Rio Olympics

Amar'e Stoudemire's presence (and absence) changed the NBA

We asked Team USA: What other Olympic sport would you play?

Why Gary Bettman's CTE denial is cause for concern for NHL

WATCH: Inside the Nike SNKRS BOX in SF for Golden Air Celebration

WATCH: Five other uniforms Chris Sale should cut up

QUIZ: Name every Olympic event in which the USA has never won a gold medal

Five U.S. Olympians favored to win multiple gold medals

WATCH: What teams should join the Big 12?

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker